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Physicists report a possibility to "hear" dark matter

  Physicists report a pathway
Researchers propose a new instrument for the search for axions of dark matter using tunable plasmas. Picture credits: Alexander Millar / University of Stockholm

Physicists from the University of Stockholm and the Max Planck Institute for Physics have turned to plasmas in a proposal that could revolutionize the search for the elusive dark matter.

Dark matter accounts for 85 percent of matter in the universe. Initially introduced to explain why the strong force holding protons and neutrons together is equal in time and back, so-called axion would provide a natural explanation for dark matter. Axion Dark Matter does not form discrete particles, but a wave flowing through space.

Axion is one of the best explanations for dark matter, but has recently been extensively studied experimentally. Now there is a rush to develop new ideas to find the Axion in all areas where it could hide.

"Finding the Axion is a bit like tuning a radio: you need to tune your antenna until you select it. Instead of music, experimenters are rewarded to" hear "the dark matter through which the earth moves. Despite their good motivation, axions have been experimentally neglected in the three decades since their designation by co-author Frank Wilczek, says Dr. Alexander Millar of the Institute of Physics, Stockholm University, and author of the study.

The most important finding from the research team's new study that in a magnetic field, axions generate a small electric field that could be used to drive oscillations in the plasma: in a plasma, charged particles, such as electrons, can flow freely as liquids, amplifying the signal and leading to a better "Axion Radio" In contrast to conventional experiments based on resonant cavities, the Size of these plasmas is almost unlimited and gives a bigger signal. The difference is similar to the difference between a walkie-talkie and a radio tower.

"Without cold plasma, axions can not be efficiently converted into light, and the plasma plays a dual role in creating an environment that allows efficient conversion." and to provide a resonant plasmon to collect the energy of the converted dark matter, "says Dr. Matthew Lawson, postdoctoral fellow at the Institute of Physics, Stockholm University, also author of the study.

" This is a completely new view of the dark Matter and will help us look for one of the strongest candidates for dark matter in areas that are still completely unexplored. Building a tunable plasma would allow us to perform much larger experiments than traditional techniques and deliver much stronger signals at high frequencies. says Dr. Alexander Millar.

To tune this "Axion Radio", the authors suggest using something called "wire metamaterial" Change the characteristic frequency of the plasma in a large, powerful magnet, similar to As used in magnetic resonance imaging in hospitals, a wire metamaterial turns into a very sensitive Axionradio development of the concept with the intention of building such an experiment in the near future.

"Plasma haloscopes are one of the few ideas to work in this parameter space to look for axions. That the experimental community has committed to this idea quickly is very exciting and promising for building a full-scale experiment, "says Dr. Alexander Millar.

A radio looking for dark matter

Further information:
Matthew Lawson et al. Tunable Axion Plasma Haloscopes, Physical Review Letters (201
9). DOI: 10.1103 / PhysRevLett.123.141802

Provided by
University of Stockholm

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Physicists report on a way to "hear" dark matter (2019, 9 October)
retrieved on October 9, 2019
from https://phys.org/news/2019-10-physicists-dark.html

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