The model describes how the universe expanded from an initial state of extremely high density and high temperature. Detailed measurements of the rate of expansion of the universe bring the event to about 13.8 billion years, which is believed to be the age of the universe.
Soon after the Big Bang, cosmic inflation turned energy into matter, and physicists believe that inflation creates the same amount of matter and antimatter that annihilate each other on contact.
But then something happened that tipped the scales in favor of matter and gave rise to everything we see and touch today – and a new study suggests that the explanation is hidden in very small waves in spacetime.
Jeff Dror, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, said, “If you just start with an equal component of matter and antimatter, you end up with nothing.”
The answer could be surrounding particles known as neutrinos, which have no electrical charge and therefore can act as either matter or antimatter.
The theory is that about a million years after the Big Bang, the universe cooled down and went through a phase transition, an event similar to how boiling water turns liquid into gas.
That change caused decaying neutrinos to produce more matter than antimatter in a “small, small amount,” according to the study published in the journal Physical Review Letters.
Dr. Dror added, “There are no very simple or almost no ways to study this [this theory] and to understand if it actually occurred in the early universe. “
But Dr. Dror and his team figured out how to see this phase transition in action today, so they give the hypothesis more credit.
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When the team modeled this hypothetical phase transition under the various temperature conditions that could have occurred during that phase transition, they made an encouraging discovery.
They found that cosmic strings would in all cases generate gravitational waves that could be detectable by future observatories such as the European Space Agency’s laser interferometer space antenna (LISA).
Tanmay Vachaspati, a theoretical physicist at Arizona State University who was not involved in the study, told Live Science in May, “When these strings are made in high enough energy scales, they actually create gravitational waves that can be detected by planned observatories . ”