Monday, July 2, 2012

Revolutionary 'DNA Tracking Chamber' Could Detect Dark Matter� - Technology Review

Revolutionary 'DNA Tracking Chamber' Could Detect Dark Matter� - Technology Review: The dark matter headwind should be coming from the direction of Cygnus, so a suitable detector should see the direction change as the Earth rotates each day...
...Its basic detecting unit consists of a thin gold sheet with many strands of single-strand DNA hanging from it, like bead curtains or a hanging forest. Each strand of DNA is identical except for a label at the free hanging end, which identifies where on the gold sheet it sits.

The idea is that a dark matter particle smashes into a heavy gold nucleus in the sheet, sending it careering out of the gold foil and through the DNA forest.  The gold nucleus then severs DNA strands as it travels, cutting a swathe through the forest.
These strands fall onto a collecting tray below, which is removed every hour or so. The segments can then be copied many times using a polymerase chain reaction, thereby amplifying the signal a billion times over...
The entire detector consists of hundreds or thousands of these sheets sandwiched between mylar sheets, like pages in a book. In total, a detector the size of a tea chest would require about a kilogram of gold and about 100 grams of single-strand DNA.

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