Top cited particle physics paper

'Results from a search for dark matter in the complete LUX exposure'

INSPIRE is the high energy physics information server, providing publication and citation data for papers published in particle physics and cosmology. It reveals that one paper – and one paper only – published in 2017 has already received over 500 citations: 'Results from a search for dark matter in the complete LUX exposure', in Physical Review Letters 118 (2017) 021303. 

LUX is the Large Underground Xenon experiment, an instrument designed to provide direct evidence for the existence of dark matter, the mysterious material that is believed to make up some 85% of the mass of the solar system and about 26% of the total energy density of the Universe. This paper reported the project’s results in searching for the leading candidate for what dark matter might be, weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs).   The interest in the paper reflects that the search is probing the ‘sweet spot’ of theories for physics beyond the Standard Model of particle physics, that is, the theory of truly fundamental particles and their interactions, and that a positive detection might have reasonably been expected.  No evidence for such a signal was seen, providing deeply meaningful constraints for what the nature of dark matter might be.

The LUX experiment has now been decommissioned, making way for its successor, LUX-ZEPLIN. This is presently being installed in a laboratory over a kilometre underground at the Homestake mine in South Dakota, USA, and which will be about 100 times more sensitive than LUX. The School of Physics and Astronomy Particle Physics Experiment group is strongly involved in both LUX and LUX-ZEPLIN, with the group leading periods of the LUX data taking, contributing to the analysis and leading the experiment’s management committee.