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SUPL lab

ANSTO is helping construct Australia’s first dark matter lab

Dr Richard Garrett is ANSTO’s liaison on the construction of the Stawell Underground Physics Laboratory, which is associated with ARC Centre for Excellence for Dark Matter Particle Physics. The second phase of construction has now commenced. 

ANSTO, Melbourne UniversitySwinburne UniversityUniversity of Adelaide and the Australian National University are collaborating on the project to build the first of a kind lab in Australia.

The laboratory will house an experiment to detect dark matter, and rooms for additional ultra-low background radiation research.

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Prof Barberio and Dr Garrett were interviewed by ABC radio as the first item in the bulletin.

The science world is searching for dark matter because it has the potential to answer one of the biggest questions in physics. Astronomical measurements tell us that 85 per cent of the matter in the universe is dark matter, but its nature is unknown. Detection of particles of dark matter would have an impact comparable to the discovery of the Higgs boson and gravity waves. It would confirm that dark matter particles provided the gravitational seeds for the formation of galaxies.

The Victorian Minister for Regional Development, the Hon Mary-Anne Thomas, was among the numerous delegates who travelled a kilometre underground to officiate the launch.

While underground, Dr Garrett was interviewed by ABC radio about the construction of the laboratory, which ANSTO is supporting.

Other attendees included Centre for Dark Matter Director Prof Elisabetta Barberio, Vice-Chancellor Prof Duncan Maskell from the University of Melbourne and Troy Cole, General Manager of Stawell Gold Mines, who have made areas of the mine available for the construction of the laboratory.

ANSTO has contributed expertise in ensuring the laboratory retains ultra-low levels of background radiation, which is critical to the overall success of the measurements being obtained. ANSTO plans to operate an ultra-low level radiation metrology facility within SUPL.

Read more about ANSTO's contribution to the project.


Progress on dark matter lab

The first phase of construction work on the Stawell Underground Physics Laboratory (SUPL), where a Southern Hemisphere detector to detect dark matter will be located, is underway at the Stawell mine site in Victoria. 

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Excavation of dark matter lab completed

Australian scientists hope to start experiments to detect dark matter as early as next year, following the successful excavation of the site for the underground laboratory at the Stawell Gold Mines.

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Dark matter lab funded

ANSTO welcomes the announcement of $5 million in matching capital funds from the Victorian Government for the construction of the Stawell Underground Physics Laboratory, which will house an ultra-sensitive instrument known as SABRE to detect dark matter

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Dark matter