Two researchers in a cleanroom work on a dark matter detector.

Areas of Research

Deep underground, far from the reach of cosmic rays, scientists are working on experiments that may answer fundamental questions about how the universe was formed.

  • Dark Matter

    Most of the mass of the universe is missing. Where is it and how do we know it exists? Scientists at SURF think WIMPs could be the answer.

  • Life Underground

    By discovering how organisms survive in extreme conditions, researchers are working to build new fuel sources, develop new antibiotics and understand potential life on other planets.

  • Neutrinos

    This ghostly particle could answer a lot of questions about the universe, including how the universe was formed and why we exist.

  • Nuclear Astrophysics

    The nuclear fusion that occurs inside stars creates all the elements necessary for life and scientists at Sanford Lab want to understand how it happens.

  • Geology

    We know this rock well. Homestake's 126 years of geological study laid the groundwork for Sanford Lab engineers to design safe caverns to house big physics experiments.

  • Low Background Assaying

    The Black Hills State University Underground Campus supports experiments around the globe and creates opportunities for students around the world


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Nobel Prize

SURF became a physics landmark beginning in 1965 with a solar neutrino experiment which would later win the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2002.

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SURF has partnered with more than 100 organizations in dozens of countries.

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4850 Feet

The main campus for science is at the 4850-foot level, nearly a mile underground.