In DepthPhysics

China supersizes its underground physics lab

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Science  28 Nov 2014:
Vol. 346, Issue 6213, pp. 1041
DOI: 10.1126/science.346.6213.1041

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For certain physics experiments, deeper is better. Since it opened in 2010, the China Jinping Underground Laboratory (CJPL)—in a hollowed-out cavern along a tunnel in Sichuan province—has been the world's deepest underground laboratory. Two thousand four hundred meters of rock have shielded its experimental chambers from background radiation that might mask the extremely subtle traces of dark matter, the universe's postulated missing mass. CJPL's observational capabilities were limited by its mere 4000-cubic-meter size. It is about to grow to 120,000 cubic meters, making it the world's second largest underground lab and positioning it to make breakthrough contributions to fundamental investigations into dark matter, neutrinos, and conditions in the early universe.