PICO uses a bubble chamber to look for dark matter. The fluid in the bubble chamber is superheated, so when a particle interacts, it boils and creates a bubble. This bubble is captured on camera and microphone, and studying it can tell scientists about the particle that caused it.
Did you know?
- The fluid is superheated, but since it’s a refrigerant, the temperature is actually slightly cooler than room temperature.
- The fluid used is the same refrigerant formerly used in household fridges.
- The cameras are constantly firing, and each frame is analyzed to look for bubbles. When one is detected, bellows compress the liquid to prevent it all from boiling.