News Picks : China vies for lead in dark-matter detection
Science: Several large xenon detectors are currently searching for WIMPs, or weakly interacting massive particles, the hypothetical candidates for dark matter. Among them is China’s PandaX dark-matter experiment. With its location in the world’s deepest underground laboratory, PandaX is well situated to shield its tank of liquid xenon from cosmic rays and other signal background radiation at Earth’s surface. Although its current capacity is less than half that of the US’s Large Underground Xenon experiment, PandaX is expandable. Chinese researchers hope to increase its mass of liquid xenon from 120 kg to 500 kg by early next year. If so, PandaX could take the lead in sensitivity, if only until XENON1T, the next phase of the XENON Dark Matter Project located in Italy's Gran Sasso underground laboratory, is up and running.