Introduction of Researches
Kamioka Observatory offers the underground laboratories to collaboration institutes as an inter-university facility.
As of 2022 the main inter-university researches are Super-Kamiokande, a direct dark matter detection experiment, Gravity wave group, NEWAGE and CANDLES.
ICRR announces a call for research proposals for the Inter-University Research Program every year.
Super-Kamiokande is a 50,000 ton water Cherenkov detector and primarily observes the elementary particles known as neutrinos. Super-Kamiokande started observation in 1996 after 5 year of construction. The detector is used in cooperation with about 200 researchers from 50 collaborating institutes in Japan, the US, Poland, Korea, China, Spain, Canada, UK, Italy, France and Vietnam.
Direct Dark Matter Search Experiments
What are the constituents of the universe? – this is one of the most fundamental questions, and we know that most of them are NOT atoms or molecules. Their true nature is a mystery, but they are believed to be existing around us and are called dark matter. To directly detect and study them in the laboratory, we are participating in XENONnT experiment, the world-best sensitive experiment currently underway in Italy, aiming at the first discovery of the dark matter particles. We are also conducting research and development of next-generation detectors, including a detector that is sensitive to the incoming direction of dark matter particles.
The gravitational wave group is now challenging the direct detection of gravitational waves from the generation of black holes and so on, taking the advantage of the low seismic noise environment underground. After the technical demonstration in the cryogenic laser interferometer observatory (CLIO) with 100-m baseline, KAGRA gravitational wave telescope with 3-km baseline is now under construction. At the same time, a laser strainmeter and a superconductive gravity meter are operated underground to detect tiny vibration of the Earth for the research of geophysics and geodesy.
“NEWAGE”, run by Kobe university, is one of the next generation dark matter search experiments in the world. NEWAGE aims to detect the dark matter as the wind blowing on the earth. The solar system, where we are, is traveling through our galaxy, and we feel the dark matter wind on the earth.
We have started preliminary measurements with a small-sized detector. A large-sized detector shall bring us another new discovery of the dark matter wind detection from the Kamioka mine in a near future.
The character of the neutrinos is thought to be one of the most important key to solve the mystery why the universe is mostly made of ordinary matter with little or no antimatter.
In order to verify whether neutrinos are Majorana particles that allow particle to anti-particle transition, we are studying the double beta decay of calcium-48 by CANDLES detector system which employs a large amount of calcium fluoride crystals.