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USD Achieves Another Milestone Toward Dark Matter Detection

Wenzhao Wei achieved a milestone in dark matter research Wenzhao Wei fabricated a detector with a guard-ring contact for dark matter research.

After a successful fabrication of Ge detectors with home-grown crystals at the University of South Dakota, the Center for Ultraslow Background Experiments in Dakotas (CUBED) has achieved another milestone by making a new dark matter detector with home-grown crystals.

The detection of dark matter, a form of matter that does not emit lights or interact with electromagnetic interaction, is a major mystery in the modern cosmology and particle physics. According to the recent cosmological observations, dark matter is thought to account for approximately 85 percent of the matter in the universe and about a quarter of its total energy density. However, it has not been directly detected by any experiments in the world.

Improving the detection limits is the most important effort that has attracted many scientists to develop more sensitive detectors to search for dark matter.

Wenzhao Wei, a postdoctoral researcher in physics working on the detector development under the support of the South Dakota Board of Regent’s Innovation Grant, has successfully fabricated a detector with a guard-ring contact.

“This is the first guard-ring contact detector made at USD,” said Dongming Mei, Ph.D., the CUBED director at USD.

“Wenzhao has been working very hard,” added Jing Liu, Ph.D., an assistant professor in physics who also works on the detectors with Wei. “I was very impressed by Dr. Wei’s work, and the guard-ring Ge detector she made is a good detector.”


USD's College of Arts & Sciences offers students a top-notch undergraduate liberal arts education in the humanities, social sciences and sciences as well as graduate programs that have earned USD distinction as a research university by the Carnegie Foundation. The college's more than 22,000 alumni include famous journalists, Hollywood screenwriters, novelists, a Nobel Prize winner, South Dakota governors, attorneys, physicians, justices of the state Supreme Court, distinguished university faculty and international humanitarians.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Hanna DeLange
USD News