The Windchime Project Gravitational Detection of Dark Matter in the Laboratory
The existence of Dark Matter is firmly established through a variety of observations in cosmology and astrophysics, spanning from the Big Bang to today, and from the Universe as a whole to individual galaxies. Its nature however is one of the grandest mysteries in physics. The so-called direct detection of Dark Matter in the laboratory is one of the most promising avenues to address this challenge. However, established methods require some additional channel for Dark Matter to interact with us, which is an assumption not backed by astrophysical evidence.
We have demonstrated in 2020 that recent technological advances allow us to tackle the direct detection of Dark Matter in the laboratory through its gravitational interaction alone. This is feasible around the Planck mass (22 μg or 1019GeV), which is in itself a highly interesting mass range to probe. At the same time, Dark Matter particle fluxes around this mass are still accessible in the laboratory. With the Windchime Project, we work on an array of mechanical sensors with quantum-enhanced readout in order to search for planck-mass Dark Matter through its gravitational interaction alone.