Equipment to take plunge in Purdue pool before dark matter search

February 25, 2015  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Equipment that will be used in an international dark matter experiment will be plunged into the competition swimming pool at Purdue University at 11 a.m. on Sunday (March 1).

Rafael Lang, an assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, is part of the XENON1T collaboration expected to begin in the fall to search for signatures of dark matter.

Reporters, photographers and videographers are invited to attend the test, which will check for cracks in the equipment’s seals. Lang and members of his research team will be available for interviews.

The test will last for one hour at the Boilermaker Aquatic Center inside the Córdova Recreational Sports Center. The pool will be closed to the public at this time.

Lang and his team are building a neutron generator that will be used to calibrate a detector to capture dark matter signatures. Both the generator and detector will be submerged under 16 feet of water during the XENON1T experiment.

The swimming pool test will ensure that the neutron generator is watertight at this depth and is not too buoyant, Lang said.

The XENON1T experiment will take place at the Gran Sasso National Laboratory in Italy, an underground laboratory beneath the tallest mountain in the region. Nearly one mile of rock and the 16 feet of water will act as a shield to keep out radiation that could create background noise in the experimental results.

“As our planet moves through space, we pass through dark matter, and it goes right through us,” Lang said. “We are building a very sensitive detector that will reveal interactions with dark matter. These interactions could tell us what dark matter is and provide insight into the nature of our universe.” 

Writer: Elizabeth K. Gardner, 765-494-2081, 

Source: Rafael Lang, 765-494-3048, 

Related release:

Purdue professor featured in ‘Through the wormhole with Morgan Freeman’:

Related videos:

The Quest for Dark Matter  

The Hunt for Dark Matter – Dr. Rafael Lang 

Note to Journalists: Not for publication. For media planning purposes only. Media interested in attending the test should contact Elizabeth Gardner, Purdue News Service, at 765-494-2081,

Purdue University, 610 Purdue Mall, West Lafayette, IN 47907, (765) 494-4600

© 2014-17 Purdue University | An equal access/equal opportunity university | Integrity Statement | Copyright Complaints | Brand Toolkit | Maintained by Marketing and Media

Trouble with this page? Disability-related accessibility issue? Please contact us at so we can help.