Dark Matter




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Dark Matter

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.

Photos of PICO

A worker inside the PICO water tank with the detector Credit: Gerry Kingsley
A worker solders the PICO-40 experiment. Credit: Gerry Kingsley
Integration Manager Mehwish Obaid poses with the PICO experiment steel shell. Credit: Gerry Kingsley
Installation of PICO-60
A closeup of the PICO steel shell. Credit: Danilynn Redgrift
Event image from PICO-60.
Diagram of PICO 40. Credit: PICO Collaboration
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