Dark energy may have been observed in dark matter detector

An experiment carried out just over a year ago tried to find dark matter particles, and ended up finding mysterious signs that could not be explained. Now, a new article published in Physical Review D suggests that the XENON1T detector would actually have interacted with dark energy — more precisely, something known as the “chameleon particle.”

  • It will be? Dark energy may be part of dark matter, study suggests
  • Dark energy may be produced inside stars like the Sun, study suggests
  • Altered light at the beginning of the universe can unravel dark energy — or something new
  • (Image: Reproduction/The Xenon Collaboration )

    One of the great challenges of modern astrophysics is the composition of the matter of the universe. We know a lot about the things we can see, meaning that they emit or reflect some kind of radiation. We even know objects that emit in wavebands invisible to our eyes, thanks to infrared, ultraviolet, X-ray, radio and gamma ray telescopes. But all that matter — stars, planets, galaxies — is just 5% of the universe.

    The rest of the cosmos is made up of two mysterious things — dark matter and dark energy — that don’t interact with light, nor with particles of visible matter. So we can’t detected and study these forces, but that doesn’t mean scientists can’t try. To find the particles responsible for dark matter, researchers built a detector known as XENON1T, the largest and most sensitive of its kind.

    Want to catch up on the best tech news of the day? Go and subscribe to our new channel on youtube, Canaltech News. Every day a summary of the main news from the tech world for you!

    Buried underground, the XENON1T it’s a big tank full of liquid xenon, potentially capable of reacting if a dark matter particle is there. The idea is that a hypothetical particle called WIMPs, one of the candidates for making up dark matter, could excite xenon atoms to produce a flash of light and free electrons. The detector contains a volume of 1.60 kg of xenon and to avoid reactions with other types of particles, is submerged in a tank of water, which in turn is in the depths of a mountain.

    (Image: Reproduction/NASA/WMAP)

    In fact, the detector found something that was not expected, considering the amount of reactions with common particles expected by scientists. They think the excess would have been caused by something unknown, potentially a new physics. Some scientists reasoned that XENON1T did not find WIMPs, but another hypothetical elementary particle called a solar axion — a type of axion produced by the Sun.

    Solar axions are not exactly considered candidates for dark matter , but other types of axions are. So there was a lot of excitement about the possibility that they had finally detected this particle. However, there was no way to prove the hypothesis.

    Chameleon particles

    The new study now proposes that XENON1T did not detect dark matter particles, but rather dark energy. Those responsible for the elusive signals would be chameleon particles, also hypothetical, which could act as conductors of dark energy in the universe. This energy is considered responsible for accelerating the expansion of the universe.

    (Image: Reproduction/The Xenon Collaboration)

    One of the great difficulties in studying dark energy is that it doesn’t behave like anything we know: the farther away a galaxy, the faster it seems to move away. How can an energy speed up the expansion of the universe as objects are farther away? Well, among the hypotheses already presented is a particle with a mass that varies according to the amount of matter around it.

    When the “chameleon” particles are in areas with high density of matter, like the Earth, their mass would be large and they would exert a force over a very small distance, on the scale of millimeters. But when they are freely in space, away from massive objects, they would have much smaller masses and their influence would extend over much greater distances. Thus, it would be able to exert its influence between objects as far away as galaxies separated by millions of light years.

    In their new study, the research team modeled what would happen if chameleon particles passed by. by the XENON1T detector, and found in the simulation something very similar to what was observed in the experiment. “It was really surprising that this excess could, in principle, have been caused by dark energy rather than dark matter,” said Dr. Sunny Vagnozzi, first author of the study. a lot of work to be done, however, before scientists can reach any definitive conclusions. The excess signals have not yet been properly confirmed, so it will be necessary to create more advanced versions of the detector to see if the same phenomenon will be encountered. This will eliminate—or confirm—the odds that the strange signals found were an anomaly or mere chance.

    Source: University of Cambridge

    Did you like this article?

    Subscribe your email on Canaltech to receive daily updates with the latest news from the world of technology.

    504382 504382

    504382 504384

    Related Articles

    Back to top button