DEC 02, 2022 1:00 PM PST

Hunt For Dark Matter Gets Good News

Artist's illustration of dark matter filaments called

In a recent study published in Physical Review Letters, an international team of researchers led by the Albert Einstein Center for Fundamental Physics (AEC) at the University of Bern in Switzerland have carried out a precision experiment in hopes of focusing the search for the existence of dark matter. This study holds the potential as a big leap forward in searching for one of the most mysterious substances in the universe.

"What dark matter is actually made of is still completely unclear," explains Ivo Schulthess, who is a PhD student at the AEC, and lead author of the study.

As stated, dark matter is one of the most mysterious substances in the universe, and as its name implies, it’s dark, which makes it all the more difficult to find in the blackness of space, but researchers still know it’s there.

“Dark matter makes up roughly 27% of the Universe’s total mass-energy content,” the researchers say in the paper.

For the study, the researchers examined what’s known as dark matter axionlike particles (ALPs), which they identify as one of the more “promising candidates” in the hunt for dark matter. They measured the rotational frequency of neutrons, which they hypothesized would result in certain signatures being left behind when measurements were taken.

"Thanks to many years of expertise, our team has succeeded in designing and building an extremely sensitive measurement apparatus -- the Beam EDM experiment," said Dr. Florian Piegsa, who is a Professor for Low Energy and Precision Physics at the AEC, and a co-author on the study. "The rotational frequency of the neutrons remained unchanged, which means that there is no evidence of axions in our measurement.”

"Our experiment enables us to determine the rotational frequency of neutron spins, which move through a superposition of electric and magnetic fields," explains Schulthess. "Although the existence of these particles remains mysterious, we have successfully excluded an important parameter space of dark matter.”

Sources: Physical Review Letters

As always, keep doing science & keep looking up!

About the Author
Master's (MA/MS/Other)
Laurence Tognetti is a six-year USAF Veteran who earned both a BSc and MSc from the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University. Laurence is extremely passionate about outer space and science communication, and is the author of “Outer Solar System Moons: Your Personal 3D Journey”.
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