Fermilab’s cosmic research program explores the fundamental nature of matter, energy, space, and time, as revealed in the unique natural laboratory of the cosmos:

Cosmic surveys of galaxies and cosmic background radiation use precise measurements of cosmic structure to learn about fundamental physics of cosmic acceleration, new forms of gravitating matter, and properties of cosmic neutrinos.
A coordinated campaign of experiments seeks direct detection and detailed study of the properties of cosmic dark matter particles in the laboratory. Ultraprecise, correlated interferometry at superluminal frequencies probes the quantum nature of space and time to below the Planck length.

We invite you to join the adventure, a high-energy, cosmic journey: learn about the Center for Particle Astrophysics—who we are, the science we’re focused on, and how you can be a part of it.


The cosmic microwave background is the radiant heat left over from the big bang. It was emitted nearly 14 billion years ago, just 380,000 years after the big bang, and has traveled across literally the entire observable universe. This makes the CMB an ideal backlight to find the most massive, distant structures in the universe,… More »

Last month the Holometer, Fermilab experiment E-990, reached its design luminosity, building up more than 1 kilowatt of infrared laser power stored in a 40-meter-long Michelson interferometer. This light intensity corresponds to more than 1022 (ten billion trillion) photons per second hitting the interferometer optics. It also allows scientists to measure the optics’ positions to… More »

The Dark Energy Survey collected more than 34,000 exposures during its science verification (SV) phase, from November 2012 to February 2013. It also began its first official season of observations on Aug. 31. Among the millions of astronomical objects imaged by DES so far, there are rare instances of “strong lensing” systems, where the effects… More »

The headline story in the April 15 issue of Fermilab Today featured the observation by the CDMS experiment of three candidate events that could have been produced by dark matter. That result, combined with several other possible signals, points to a dark matter candidate that is much lighter than expected. While no one is claiming… More »

Scientists around the world are trying to understand the nature of dark matter, which accounts for most of the mass of the universe. The earth seems to be moving through a cloud of dark matter particles that encompasses the visible parts of our galaxy. We should be able to sense this dark matter, if we… More »