Noble Travails: Noble Liquid Detectors Searching for Particle Dark Matter

Richard Gaitskell (Brown University)

Particle dark matter is thought to be the overwhelming majority of the matter in the Universe, dwarfing the contribution from conventional material that we, the earth and the stars, are composed of. However, we still have no direct evidence for the existence of particle dark matter. This may soon change... I will report on the new results from the XENON10 liquid xenon-based detector at Gran Sasso which is searching for particle dark matter, and now has a world class sensitivity which is a factor 4 better than its current nearest rival (CDMS II). [ , ] I will also discuss some of the other noble liquid target experiments that are also providing competitive sensitivities in the race for the direct detection of particle dark matter. Theoretical estimates, based on supersymmetric models predict dark matter interaction rates from the best sensitivity of existing direct detection experiments of ~1 evts/kg/month, down to rates of ~1 evts/100 kg/yr, and below this. Current and future noble liquid experiments for dark matter searches, range in scale from 10's kg to tonnes, and are designed to rise to this challenge. The new liquid xenon detector, LUX, which has begun construction, will be 100 times more sensitive than current best search experiments. [ ]