CERN Announces Search for Dark Matter

FASER project will look for the long-lived, yet illusive particles predicted by dark matter theories.

CERN has approved a new experiment to search for some of the most important particles associated with dark matter. The project, which is dubbed FASER (for Forward Search Experiment) will require non-standard equipment and procedures, since the focus will be on particles that do not interact with the electromagnetic force.

According to the press release, “The four main LHC detectors are not suited for detecting the light and weakly interacting particles that might be produced parallel to the beam line. They may travel hundreds of meters without interacting with any material before transforming into known and detectable particles, such as electrons and positrons. The exotic particles would escape the existing detectors along the current beam lines and remain undetected. FASER will therefore be located along the beam trajectory 480 meters downstream from the interaction point within ATLAS. Although the protons in the particle beams will be bent by magnets around the LHC, the light, very weakly interacting particles will continue along a straight line and their “decay products” can be spotted by FASER. The potential new particles would be very collimated with the beam, spreading out very little, therefore allowing a relatively small and inexpensive detector to perform highly sensitive searches.”

FASER will search for a suite of hypothesized particles called dark photons.