Abstract: Taking Inventory of the Universe: Exploring the Mystery of Dark Matter with the MiniCLEAN Experiment
Astronomical observations have produced a tremendous amount of evidence that the gravitational interactions we observe in the cosmos cannot be produced entirely by the particles in the Standard Model. The dark matter hypothesis can explain this mystery by postulating an additional kind of matter that does not interact electromagnetically. But can we detect a new particle in the lab that is even more elusive than the neutrino? I will review the current state of experimental results in the search for dark matter, and describe the upcoming MiniCLEAN experiment, the next member of the DEAP/CLEAN family of dark matter experiments. Coming online this summer, MiniCLEAN will use liquid argon scintillation to search for weakly interacting massive particles, a favored dark matter candidate. The technology is highly scalable, with a direct development path to 10-100 ton argon or neon target masses that can be used in both solar neutrino and dark matter studies.