shkrobius (shkrobius) wrote,
shkrobius
shkrobius

Dark matters

I am consulting a group at Fermilab that want to look for dark matter particles (WIMPs) using a humongous bubble chamber filled with CF3I. When a WIMP strikes iodine atom in superheated CF3I, there is nuclear recoil and a bubble is formed. This detector is not sensitive to electrons, muouns, and other mundane particles, hence the advantage over Ge detectors. Weak red light is beaming on a glass crate filled with CF3I sitting in the dark in deep in an underground mine, and the bubbles are observed using a high speed camera. It is not exactly high tech.

So they've built a small prototype, filled it by CF3I (keeping the liquid under water), ran the experiment for a year, and it worked. Next they've scaled it up -- and then something unexpected happened: in a month the liquid became dark. In a year, all red light was absorbed. They've produced dark matter!

The "dark matter" turned out to be iodine. Fermilab laid off its chemists, so they've looked around and found me. We excluded radiation, photochemistry, etc. We cannot reproduce the conditions that resulted in this "dark matter" formation. On the other hand, they do not want another yearly run ending in a fiasco. So all we have are the "dark matter" samples from the previous run. Worse, being physicists, they put the samples into plastic bottles, so the iodine reacted with the plastic. Luckily, there were some leftovers in the crate we were able to analyze. There was a veritable zoo of impurities there, but nothing explained why this particular batch of CF3I decomposed.

I still do not have the slightest clue what happened; my best shot is that there was an impurity catalyzing hydrolysis. I suggested them a way to keep their CF3I transparent even if the "dark matter" is formed. First they told me they need explanation what happened. I told them never mind, it would work anyway. In the end they realized they do not have too many options. I am promised a case of champagne if it works...

So if people tell you high energy physics in general and exotic particles in particular have no social benefit, spit into the eyes of the liars. I am that close to profiteering from WIMPs.
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  • Канадские загадки

    Гостил у сына в Монреале и увидел в местной газете неизвестную мне загадку (они ее binaire называют). Пишут, она возникла в Японии, оттуда…

  • Индийский желтый

    Мне нечего стыдиться: мои Тернеры висят в Лондоне, Нью-Йорке, Париже, Берлине, Вене. Я прочел все, написанное о его живописи, - а это сотни полотен…

  • Штуковина

    Спасибо, что зашли в лавку. Я Шмидт, слышали про такого? Всю жизнь строгал да клеил, теперь, увы, глаза не те. В мастерской хозяйничает сын, а я…