Last Chance for WIMPs: Physicists Launch All-Out Hunt for Dark-Matter Candidate

Physicists are hatching a plan to give a popular but elusive dark-matter candidate a last chance to reveal itself. For decades, physicists have hypothesized that weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs) are the strongest candidate for dark matter — the mysterious substance that makes up 85% of the Universe’s mass. But several experiments have failed to find evidence for WIMPs, meaning that, if they exist, their properties are unlike those originally predicted. Now, researchers are pushing to build a final generation of supersensitive detectors — or one ‘ultimate’ detector — that will leave the particles no place to hide.

“The WIMP hypothesis will face its real reckoning after these next-generation detectors run,” says Mariangela Lisanti, a physicist at Princeton University in New Jersey.

Physicists have long predicted that an invisible substance, which has mass but doesn’t interact with light, permeates the Universe. The gravitational effects of dark matter would explain why

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