The UK Dark Matter Collaboration was a group of scientists who ran a series of experiments from 1987 to 2007 to discover more about the make-up of the Universe. Using detectors housed 1,100m underground in Boulby mine in the North York Moors, these experiments aimed to discover more about dark matter by searching for evidence of rare scattering events caused by weakly-interacting particles.
Members of the collaboration continue to work on experiments which aim to verify the nature of dark matter.
Image: Long exposure photograph of workers at the UK Dark Matter Collaboration in Boulby Mine (credit: David Parker/SPL)
An underground lab is part of the dark matter search.
BBC News reports from Boulby mine.
The particle detectors used for the UK Dark Matter Collaboration experiment are housed in a mine deep under the North Yorkshire Moors. The BBC's David Shukman finds out what the scientists are hoping to learn.
Scientists hunt for elusive particles in a Yorkshire mine.
Professor Tim Sumner explains how he hunts for elusive dark matter particles in Boulby mine in Yorkshire.
The U.K. Dark Matter Collaboration (UKDMC) (1987–2007) was an experiment to search for Weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs). The consortium consisted of astrophysicists and particle physicists from the United Kingdom, who conducted experiments with the ultimate goal of detecting rare scattering events which would occur if galactic dark matter consists largely of a new heavy neutral particle.
WIMPs are considered prime candidates for dark matter, which accounts for approximately nine-tenths of the mass of certain galaxies, such as the Milky Way. WIMPs are predicted by several supersymmetric theories of particle physics. The particle detectors used for this experiment are placed 1100 metres below the surface of Yorkshire's Boulby mine.
UKDMC began in 1987, with principal participants from several notable institutions, including the Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, the CCLRC's Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, and the University of Sheffield. Funding for the programme was provided by the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC), as well as Cleveland Potash Ltd. which operates the mine where the experiments were conducted. The underground laboratory was officially opened on 18 April 2003, and the experiment ran until 2007 when collaborating institutions and scientists moved on to the related projects ZEPLIN-III and DRIFT-II.