A new strategy for directly detecting light particle dark matter

phys.org | 1/15/2020 | Staff
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A schematic figure of the potential experiment proposed in the paper. Credit: Berlin et al.

For almost a century, astronomers have hypothesized that the universe contains more matter than what can be observed by the human eye. It is now believed that approximately 80 percent of the universe's mass is made up of a type of matter that does not emit light or energy and that scientists are still unable to observe directly, referred to as dark matter.

Studies - Theories - Matter - Evidence - Existence

While there are now countless studies and theories about dark matter, there is still no direct experimental evidence supporting its existence. Several physicists have tried to devise methods to detect dark matter in the universe, yet all of these have so far been unsuccessful.

Over the past few decades, researchers have started to wonder how dark matter could possibly be detected, especially considering that it consists of particles that are much lighter than protons. A model that has gained substantial attention is one that considers dark matter as a particle that has a very small charge under normal electromagnetism.

Inspiration - Model - Researchers - SLAC - National

Drawing inspiration from this model, researchers at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in California have recently devised a new strategy that could directly detect light particle dark matter that has long-ranged interactions with ordinary matter. The strategy they came up with, presented in a paper published in Physical Review Letters, entails distorting the local flow of dark matter with time-varying fields and measuring these distortions using shielded resonant detectors.

"So far, most ideas of how to detect dark matter particles have relied on trying to detect small energy depositions from dark matter scattering in a very sensitive detector," Asher Berlin, one of the researchers who carried out the study, told Phys.org. "My collaborators and I recently realized that an alternative detection mechanism exists: Instead of waiting for dark...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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