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XENON100 fails to find dark matter

Experiment puts new limits on properties of elusive material

A sensitive Italian experiment has found no sign of dark matter in 100 days of searching for the invisible material that is believed to account for 80 percent of the mass of the cosmos. But even in the absence of a discovery, data collected by the XENON100 experiment may shed light on fundamental physics, team leader Elena Aprile of Columbia University and her collaborators say.

The negative result, announced online April 13, doesn’t mean that dark matter doesn’t exist. It’s just harder to detect than some researchers had imagined.

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