Posted in | Quantum Physics

Using Tellurium as Detector Material to Effectively Detect Dark Matter

As part of a new PhD thesis, a researcher from the University of Jyväskylä, Finland, has demonstrated how tellurium can be used as a detector material to detect dark matter more effectively compared to materials used at present.

Pekka Pirinen. (Image credit: University of Jyväskylä)

The study also offers a basis for distinguishing between collisions caused by dark matter and neutrinos, the purported ghost particles, in dark matter detectors that use xenon.

MSc Pekka Pirinen, as part of his dissertation, explored ways to detect collisions between atomic nuclei and dark matter in a more effective manner. For the first time, an extensive analysis of collisions between neutrinos and a majority of the stable xenon nuclei was also carried out with the help of a complete microscopic nuclear framework.

Collisions between regular matter and dark matter would prove to be an exquisite source of information on the not-yet-identified 80% of all matter in the Universe. By no means does dark matter interact with light. Astonishingly high rotational speeds of galaxies and other such things have been the source of deduction for the presence of dark matter.

Tellurium gives a hand for hunting

In recent years, xenon has been one of the most popular materials used in the direct detection of dark matter. In his dissertation, Pirinen hints it is still possible to find more effective materials. Tellurium could be one such element.

Based on my calculations it seems that isotope 125 of tellurium is more suitable for dark matter detection than the most popular current detector materials. A method to build a detector using tellurium exists, but the problem is that tellurium is quite rare and expensive.

Pekka Pirinen, MSc, University of Jyväskylä.

MSc Pekka Pirinen defends his doctoral dissertation in Physics “Theoretical predictions of WIMP-nucleus and neutrino-nucleus scattering in context of dark matter direct detection” on Friday, December 7th, 2018 at noon 12:00 in the lecture hall FYS1. Opponent professor is Achim Schwenk (TU Darmstadt, Germany) and custos professor Jouni Suhonen (University of Jyväskylä). The doctoral dissertation is held in English.

Graduating from Minna Canth senior high school in Kuopio in 2009, Pekka Pirinen started his studies in the department of physics at University of Jyväskylä in fall 2009 and obtained his master’s degree in theoretical physics in 2014. He started his PhD studies in 2015. The research has been funded by the Magnus Ehrnrooth foundation and the University of Jyväskylä.

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