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11 december 2018

Approved FOM programme

Number 139.
Title The missing universe: what is the subatomic constituent of dark matter? (DM)
Executive organisational unit FOM-Nikhef & BUW
Programme management Dr. M.P. Decowski
Duration 2013-2018
Cost estimate M€ 2.0

The goal of this programme is the discovery of the particle responsible for dark matter. While astronomical evidence for the existence of dark matter is strong, we do not yet know what particle dark matter consists of. This programme is for combined experimental and theoretical participation in the identification of dark matter, with possibly a major scientific discovery.

Background, relevance and implementation
Experimentalists in the programme team associated with FOM-Nikhef are working with the XENON collaboration, currently operating the world's most sensitive dark matter detector. In parallel, we are constructing the next-generation XENON1T experiment, which will provide the sensitivity to probe a particularly favorable region for dark matter particles. Our programme aims to analyze data from the XENON experiments to experimentally detect the dark matter particle.

Simultaneously, theorists in our team at UvA and FOM-Nikhef will work on outstanding theoretical questions and astrophysical uncertainties that directly impact the analysis of dark matter data. These astrophysical models will be tested on available satellite data. We also intend to investigate and develop new particle dark matter models.

The ultimate goal of this programme is the discovery of dark matter particles. Such a discovery will rely on the combination of our XENON1T results, our theoretical work, and on complementary dark matter searches at satellite-based experiments and at the Large Hadron Collider.

The final evaluation will be based on the self-evaluation report initiated by the programme leader and is foreseen for 2019.

Please find a research highlight that was achieved in 2013 within this FOM programme here.