1. General Seminars

Direct dark matter search: the XENON project

by Marco Selvi (BO)

Aula Bruno Touschek (LNF INFN)

Aula Bruno Touschek


Astronomical and cosmological observations indicate that a large fraction of the energy content of the Universe is composed of cold dark matter. One of the most favored particle candidates, under the generic name of WIMPs (Weakly Interacting Massive Particles), arises naturally in many theories beyond the Standard Model of particle physics. The XENON Project, hosted by the Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso (LNGS), is dedicated to the direct search of dark matter particles. It consists of a double-phase time projection chamber (TPCs) using ultra-pure liquid xenon as both target and detection medium for dark matter particle interactions. The XENON100 detector, currently running since 2009 with 160 kg of liquid xenon, has reached in 2012 the sensitivity of 2x10-45 cm2 at 55 GeV/c2 on spin-independent WIMP-nucleon coupling. We will present also the results on the spin-dependent coupling, and the recent search for annual modulation and for leptophilic dark matter interactions with electrons. The next generation XENON1T detector, that will host 3.5 tonnes of xenon, is in its final stage of commissioning and will likely start taking data by 2016. The detector is designed to increase the sensitivity by two orders of magnitude. The status of the project and its physics reach will be presented in details.