Title: The LUX Dark Matter Experiment: Searching for WIMPs in the Black Hills of South Dakota


A mile underground in the Black Hills of South Dakota, the Large Underground Xenon (LUX) experiment is about to begin its search for galactic dark matter in the form of Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPs) with an unprecedented level of sensitivity. LUX is an ultra-low background time projection chamber with 300 kg of liquid xenon as a target mass. The LUX detector was constructed and thoroughly tested for the past 2 years at the Sanford Surface Facility, and has just finished underground commissioning at the 4,850 ft level at the Sanford Underground Research Facility in Lead, SD. LUX will begin full-scale operations and data-taking shortly after the new year. After only a few weeks of exposure, it will surpass all current dark matter sensitivity limits, and will aim to either be the first experiment to obtain positive dark matter signatures or to ultimately improve on current exclusion limits by an order of magnitude. I will give an overview of the different aspects of the LUX program: from R&D efforts, to first full-scale operations at the Sanford Surface Facility, to the underground deployment at the 4,850 ft level. I will provide particular focus to data analysis results in which I have been closely involved. Lastly, I will provide prospects for the future, and will hopefully convey why it's an exciting time to be hunting for WIMPs in the Black Hills.