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China opens the deepest scientific laboratory: it will be used to study the main secret of the universe

Dmytro IvancheskulNews
Dark matter may account for more than 80% of the mass of the Universe

China has opened the deepest and largest underground laboratory in the world. The expanded facility is located at a depth of about 2,400 meters under the Jinping Mountains.

In this laboratory, Chinese scientists intend to study dark matter, a mysterious substance that probably makes up more than 80% of the mass of the Universe. However, it is not yet known how to observe it at all as this dark matter does not interact with other matter and does not reflect or absorb light.

The first section of the China Jinping Underground Laboratory (CJPL) was opened in 2010. In 2020, construction began on a 50-fold expansion called CJPL-II, which was completed in December 2020.

After the renovation, the size of the laboratory surpassed the previous record holder, the Gran Sasso National Laboratory in Italy.

CJPL was built huge for a reason. Scientists at the new facility will be able to hunt for dark matter thanks to the protection provided by the rocks. They will become a kind of screen that will prevent cosmic radiation from affecting dark matter detectors.

As Marco Selvi, a physicist at the National Institute for Nuclear Physics in Bologna, Italy, explained, trying to hunt for dark matter directly from the surface is like "trying to hear the tiny voice of a child in a stadium where everyone is screaming."

Scientists will hunt for dark matter using a modernized liquid xenon detector weighing 4 tons called PandaX-4T. Scientists hope that dark matter particles will interact with a xenon atom. During this interaction, enough light should be emitted to be reflected on the detector's photosensors.

"With better sensitivity, we will be able to work with the detector and test different types of interactions," said Ning Zhou, a member of the PandaX-4T team, a physicist at Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

Another detector called the China Dark Matter Experiment (CDEX) will also operate there. It is designed to detect one type of dark matter particle. It uses germanium, a rare chemical element that scientists hope to use to detect signs of weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs). These particles are one of the most promising candidates for the role of dark matter.

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