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IPFS News Link • Science, Medicine and Technology

"Snowball chamber" would detect dark matter using supercooled water

• by Michael Irving

Ever more sensitive systems are in the works, watching and waiting for wandering dark matter particles to interact with them, and now researchers from the State University of New York at Albany have developed a new dark matter detector using supercooled water.

Contrary to popular belief, it's possible to chill water colder than 0° C (32° F) without it freezing solid. To form ice crystals, water molecules need solid surfaces to cling to. Dirt or other impurities can kickstart that process, and the more ice crystals form, the more surface area there is for new crystals. Under carefully controlled conditions, pure water can stay liquid far below its usual freezing point – a process known as supercooling.