London, Jan 17 : A report in New Scientist has said that the world's biggest neutrino detector might be upgraded to search for signs of dark matter at the Sun's core or at the center of our galaxy. This detector known as "Ice Cube", aims to find the elusive neutrinos, which are also produced in some cases by activities within decaying dark matter.
The aim of Ice Cube is to use 80 strings of detectors buried within the ice at the South Pole to detect neutrinos in general.
What the detectors do is that they look for a track of light that is produced when a neutrino interacts with ice and spits out a muon (an elementary particle with negative electric charge), which itself then streaks through the ice.
While Neutrinos are near-massless elementary particles produced in stars and in high-energy processes in space, according to most physicists, dark matter is made up of weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs).
If they exist, WIMPs should have accumulated at the centre of our galaxy or at the Sun's core, where they would interact with each other, annihilate and produce neutrinos.
A proposed extension to Ice Cube could help detect such neutrinos, which would have relatively low energies. It would consist of 6 strings, each with 40 detectors, which would be nested at the bottom-centre of Ice Cube, where the ice is devoid of dust and exceptionally clear.
If a neutrino from the galactic centre or the Sun were to enter and create a muon track inside the core, it could be identified because its energy would be too low to be detected by the surrounding Ice Cube strings.
"Because we can use the core's capabilities when objects are
both above and below the horizon, we can observe objects anywhere
in the sky 100% of the time," said Ice Cube scientist John Kelly.
Ice Cube is due to be completed by 2011.