Temperature to turn Xenon to liquid
Our target is xenon, a colorless, odorless noble gas found in trace amounts in the Earth’s atmosphere. In the search for WIMPs, scientists with LUX and LZ use super dense liquid xenon, which is cooled by liquid nitrogen to -160 Fahrenheit. We use xenon for its ability to emit light and electrons when hit by other particles—a property critical to detecting WIMPs.
Amount of xenon in the second generation experiment
The first-generation dark matter detector, LUX, used 350 kilograms of xenon as a target. Now scientists want to go bigger—30 times bigger, in fact. The next generation experiment, called LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ), will hold 10 metric tons of xenon—nearly ¼ of the all xenon produced in an entire year.
Sanford Lab purchased about 80 percent of the xenon needed for LZ. But before it can be used in the experiment, it must be purified. To ensure the xenon is pure enough for the experiment, scientists will run it through the purification process twice. It will take a few years to build LZ but when it's ready the xenon will be ready too.