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'Snowball Chamber' Helps Researchers Use Supercooled Water to Search for Dark Matter

16 Apr 2019, 21:06 UTC
'Snowball Chamber' Helps Researchers Use Supercooled Water to Search for Dark Matter
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After watching YouTube videos of people supercooling water in a bottle and then triggering it to freeze by banging it, something about this concept solidified for Matthew M. Szydagis, an assistant professor of physics at the University at Albany, State University at New York, especially when he saw it again during the Disney movie "Frozen."During the 2019 American Physical Society April Meeting in Denver, Szydagis will describe how this inspired him to explore whether a subatomic particle like dark matter can trigger the freezing of supercooled water. Read more at https://arxiv.org/pdf/1807.09253.pdf."All of my work is motivated by the search for dark matter, a form of matter we're sure is out there because we can observe its indirect gravitational effects," Szydagis said. "It makes up a significant fraction of the universe, but we have yet to uncover direct, conclusive and unambiguous evidence of it within the lab."If water is clean enough -- low in impurities, such as dust particulates -- and placed in a smooth enough container, Szydagis explained, it can be cooled below its freezing point of 0 C (32 F) without freezing."This is called 'supercooling' and is similar to how water can be easily superheated in the microwave, essentially ...

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