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
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
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