Dark Matter




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3-D printed model of the NEWS-G detector and shielding.

Dark Matter

NEWS-G (new experiments with spheres – gas) uses a spherical copper vessel filled with a noble gas to search for dark matter. When a particle enters the sphere it ionizes some of the gas, generating electrons. A sensor in the middle of the sphere held at a high voltage attracts the electrons, creating a charge that can be measured.

Did you know?

  • The pieces of the detector manufactured in Europe had to be shipped to SNOLAB by sea because a flight would expose them to too much radiation.
  • One of the pieces of lead shielding for NEWS-G is the heaviest object ever shipped underground to SNOLAB. Along with the specially reinforced rail car it travelled on, it weighed about 75,000 lbs.
  • A prototype of the detector operated at LSM in France and was original intended to study low-flux neutrons. Things like the detector’s very low energy threshold for detection caused the collaboration to shift their focus to dark matter.

Photos of NEWS-G

Close-up of the seismic isolation platform NEWS-G sits on.
NEWS-G detector with six pieces of lead shielding in place.
Diagram of the NEWS-G experiment. Credit: NEWS-G Collaboration
NEWS-G detector under construction.
Prototype of the inner copper vessel in NEWS-G.
3-D printed model of the NEWS-G detector and shielding.
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Visit the NEWS-G website