Published On: Wed, Jun 14th, 2017

Israel’s Ben-Gurion University to Develop First ever Dark Matter Detector


An advanced dark matter detector to explain a number of puzzling astronomical observations will construct and operate by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

‘Dark matter’ which constitutes almost 90% of the total mass in the universe, is a hypothetical type of matter which has yet to be detected. Its existence has not been directly observed although several astronomical measurements have corroborated its existence leading to an international effort to observe it directly.


The detector will be based on the theory that some types of dark matter produce a signal imitating a magnetic field and may, therefore, be detectable by extremely sensitive magnetic sensors. The project will bring together experts in the fields of atomic spectroscopy, magnetic sensors, lasers and optics, atomic clocks, and advanced electronics.



“Astronomical observations have brought the scientific community to the conclusion that a very large portion of the mass in the universe does not emit light and is therefore invisible to our telescopes,” says Prof. Folman. “This has led to the dark matter paradigm. The essence of this project is to find new methods to detect this material.”

BGU Prof. Ron Folman, the Ruth Flinkman-Marandy and Ben Marandy Chair in Quantum Physics and Nanotechnology, will lead the project in collaboration with Prof. Derek Jackson Kimball of California State University East Bay in Heyward. The project is partly funded by a joint grant from the American National Science Foundation and the U.S.-Israel Binational Science Foundation.


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