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The Net Advance of Physics: The Nature of Dark Matter, by Kim Griest -- Section 6E.

Next: Direct Detection Up: Search for Wimps Previous: Accelerator Constraints

Detection techniques

There are several ways of attempting to test the hypothesis that

stable neutralinos exist and contribute to the dark matter. History

has shown that the most powerful method of discovering new

particles is with particle accelerators, so if I had to guess, I would

guess that discovery of supersymmetric dark matter will come from

CERN. The new LEP 200 machine should be coming on line in a

few years, and it has the ability to explore much of the minimal

supersymmetric parameter space. The most powerful search will be

their Higgs search, and if they find a Higgs which is not the standard

model Higgs, I would take it as strong evidence for supersymmetry.

New searches for neutralinos and other supersymmetric partners

will also be made, so anyone interested in the identity of the dark

matter should watch for these results. After LEP 200, the cancelled

SSC had the best chance of discovering supersymmetry, so that

cancellation was a big disappointment. Luckily, Europe has picked

up the ball and the LHC at CERN has now been funded to search

for the Higgs and supersymmetry. Keep in mind that if neutralinos

are discovered, and their mass and couplings measured, one could

predict the relic abundance using the methods discussed above, and

know what contribution they make to the dark matter.

While the accelerators have perhaps the best chance of discovering

supersymmetric dark matter, it would be much more satisfying to

actually detect the particles in our halo as they move past and

through the Earth. This would also allow measurement of the local

density of dark matter and establish beyond doubt that the dark

matter is non-baryonic cold dark matter. Currently there are

two main methods being aggressively pursued.

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Next: Direct Detection Up: Search for Wimps Previous: Accelerator Constraints