USD Granted Patent on Dark Matter Detection Technology

VERMILLION, S.D. – The United States Patent Trademark Office recently granted the University of South Dakota a patent on a novel technology which aids in the search for dark matter.

The inventors of this technology are Guojian Wang, Ph.D., and Dongming Mei, Ph.D., from the Department of Physics. Wang and Mei are developing the technology with the goal of seeing it commercialized in the future.

The patented technology is a method of growing high-purity germanium crystals, which can be used in radiation or dark matter detectors. Only a small number of companies worldwide make germanium crystals, and Wang and Mei’s research indicate that the crystals produced at USD have comparable purity to what is on the market.

The USD-patented growers are much smaller, allowing germanium growth to be implemented into a regular laboratory building, as opposed to commercial companies for high-purity germanium crystal growth, making it more accessible.

Mei is the director of USD’s Center for Ultra-Low Background Experiments (CUBED) and a professor of physics at USD. His research focuses on underground nuclear and participle physics in search for rare physics processes beyond the Standard Model of physics.

Since 2006, Mei, as a principal investigator, has obtained $13.9 million in external research funds to sponsor his research and support postdoctoral, graduate and undergraduate students. He has published more than 100 papers in the field of his research.

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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 198 undergraduate and 79 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of more than 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.

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