From Emily Conover at ScienceNews:
The largest particle detector of its kind has failed to turn up any hints of dark matter, despite searching for about a year.
Known as XENON1T, the experiment is designed to detect elusive dark matter particles, which are thought to make up most of the matter in the cosmos. Physicists don’t know what dark matter is. One of the most popular explanations is a particle called a WIMP, short for weakly interacting massive particle. More.
The researchers saw no collisions with atomic nuclei in 1300 kg of chilled xenon, which is depressing. But at least they are ruling out spaces where dark matter could be.
It’s frustrating because, at this point, researchers don’t know whether what they are looking for even exists. That was the fate of phlogiston and the ether. These substances had to exist, scientists reasoned, in order to account for phenomena in nature. The phenomena turned out to be explicable by other means but we would never know if some people had not endured a great deal of frustration first – somewhat like the hunt for dark matter today.
Some researchers are now looking for the even more mysterious axions.
See also: Proposed dark matter solution: “Gravity is not a fundamental governance of our universe, but a reaction to the makeup of a given environment.”
Dark matter: Skeptics wanted