Scientists hunt mysterious 'dark force' explaining hidden realm of the cosmos  

15:05 • 03.09.18



Scientists are about to launch an ambitious search for a “dark force” of nature which, if found, would open the door to a realm of the universe that lies hidden from view.


The hunt will seek evidence for a new fundamental force that forms a bridge between the ordinary matter of the world around us and the invisible “dark sector” that is said to make up the vast majority of the cosmos, the Guardian reports.


The chances of success may be slim, but should such a force be found it would rank among the most dramatic discoveries in the history of physics. The best theory of reality that physicists have explains only 4% of the observable universe. The rest is a mystery made up of dark matter, the strange material that lurks around galaxies, and the even more baffling dark energy, a substance called upon to explain the ever-accelerating expansion of the universe. The chances of success may be slim, but should such a force be found it would rank among the most dramatic discoveries in the history of physics. The best theory of reality that physicists have explains only 4% of the observable universe. The rest is a mystery made up of dark matter, the strange material that lurks around galaxies, and the even more baffling dark energy, a substance called upon to explain the ever-accelerating expansion of the universe.


“At the moment, we don’t know what more than 90% of the universe is made of,” said Mauro Raggi, a researcher at the Sapienza University of Rome. “If we find this force it will completely change the paradigm we have now. It would open up a new world and help us to understand the particles and forces that compose the dark sector.”


Physicists, to date, know of only four basic forces of nature. The electromagnetic force allows for vision and mobile phone calls, but also stops us falling through our chairs. Without the so-called strong force, the innards of atoms would fall apart. The weak force operates in radiation, and gravity – the most pervasive of nature’s forces – keeps our feet rooted to the ground.


But there may be other forces that have gone unnoticed. These would shape the behaviour of the so far unknown particles that constitute dark matter, and could potentially exert the most subtle effects on the forces we are more familiar with.


This month, Raggi and his colleagues will turn on an instrument at the National Institute of Nuclear Physics near Rome which is designed to hunt down a possible fifth force of nature. Known as Padme, for Positron Annihilation into Dark Matter Experiment, the machine will record what happens when a diamond wafer a tenth of a millimetre thick is blasted with a stream of antimatter particles called positrons.


When positrons slam into the diamond wafer, they immediately merge with electrons and vanish in a faint burst of energy. Normally, the energy released is in the form of two particles of light called photons. But if a fifth force exists in nature, something different will happen. Instead of producing two visible photons, the collisions will occasionally release only one, alongside a so-called “dark photon”. This curious, hypothetical particle is the dark sector’s equivalent of a particle of light. It carries the equivalent of a dark electromagnetic force.


Unlike normal particles of light, any dark photons produced in Padme will be invisible to the instrument’s detector. But by comparing the energy and direction of the positrons fired in, with whatever comes out, scientists can tell if an invisible particle has been created and work out its mass. Though normal photons are massless, dark photons are not, and Padme will search for those up to 50 times heavier than an electron.


The dark photon, if it exists, would have an imperceptible influence on what makes up the world we see. But knowing its mass, and the kinds of particles it can break down into, would provide the first glimpse of what makes up the bulk of the universe that is beyond our perception.


The Padme experiment will run until at least the end of the year, but there are tentative plans to move the instrument to Cornell University in 2021. There it would be hooked up to a more powerful particle accelerator than in Italy to broaden its search for dark photons.


Other laboratories around the world are also looking for dark photons. Bryan McKinnon, a research fellow at Glasgow University, is involved in the search for the particle at the Thomas Jefferson national accelerator facility in Virginia. “The dark photon, if it exists, is effectively a portal,” he said. “It lets us peer into the dark sector to see what is happening. It won’t open the floodgates, but it will allow us to have a little look.”


Physicists are thought to have little idea how complex the dark sector might be. There may be no new forces to discover. Dark matter itself may be shaped by gravity alone and made up of only one type of particle. But it may be a far richer realm, where new kinds of invisible particles and forces wait to be found.


According to McKinnon, the very fact that modern theories leave room for exotic particles like dark photons means that physicists feel compelled to search for them. “It would definitely be a huge thing in physics if some evidence of a dark sector was found,” he said. “Right now, it’s labelled as such because it’s the stuff we don’t understand. If a door can be opened, what will come out? That’s guesswork right now.”

 

Since the discovery of the Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider near Geneva in 2012, particle physicists have had little to get excited about. But the dearth of new findings from major facilities has boosted efforts at smaller labs to perform long-shot experiments with potentially huge pay-offs. What are the odds that Padme will find a fifth force? “We are shooting in the dark in every sense,” said Raggi. “But if you are shooting, you at least have a chance.”

 





Загрузка...

LATEST NEWSAll Today news

12:25 • 20/09

Ucom to offer more affordable roaming rate to subscribers visiting Russia

11:31 • 20/09

Adam Schiff and 8 US lawmakers urge Gov Brown to sign Turkey divestment bill

11:08 • 20/09

$60m worth digital currencies stolen from Japanese exchange

09:47 • 20/09

Zhoghovurd: Catholicos of All Armenians to step down 'for health reasons'  

09:28 • 20/09

US 'ready' to restart talks with North Korea

09:11 • 20/09

Japan foreign minister planning to discuss peace treaty with Russia’s Lavrov

18:13 • 19/09

Contract serviceman fatally wounded in Armenia’s north-east

17:50 • 19/09

Dunja Mijatović: Legal incapacity of individuals with disabilities 'challenge to their rights' in Armenia

16:18 • 19/09

IBM launches AI bias detector

15:52 • 19/09

Kocharyan explains reasons behind ‘political comeback’

15:08 • 19/09

Azerbaijan, Russia conduct joint drills in Caspian Sea

13:07 • 19/09

The Weeknd sued 'for at least $5m' for 'stealing' his hit song Starboy from another artist

12:36 • 19/09

EU 'ready to improve' Irish border deal

12:09 • 19/09

Trump hails 'exciting' agreements by North Korean leader

12:05 • 19/09

Turkish workers arrested after Istanbul airport protests  

11:30 • 19/09

Trump considers request for US military base in Poland

11:18 • 19/09

Jessica Simpson expecting third baby

11:06 • 19/09

Facebook accused of gender discrimination in job adss

10:34 • 19/09

We are ready for negotiations but must be prepared for war, prime minister says in Artsakh

09:24 • 19/09

Pentagon lists Russia, China as biggest threats to US

09:13 • 19/09

North and South Koreas ‘commit to era of no wars’

17:56 • 18/09

Armenian khachkar unveiled in Polish city

17:05 • 18/09

Armenian parliament official briefs PACE committee on Azerbaijani aggression against Armenian civilian settlements

16:55 • 18/09

Ucom doubles inclusions of uDaily prepay mobile internet service

16:35 • 18/09

Former Liverpool defender forced to retire with motor neurone disease just months after marrying England women's captain 

16:22 • 18/09

Armenia, China sign deal to facilitate air communication

15:40 • 18/09

Trump orders release of classified documents in Russia probe

15:24 • 18/09

Armenian government delegation conducts visit to Nagorno-Karabakh

14:51 • 18/09

Central Bank chief re-elected president of interstate bank council

14:40 • 18/09

Armenian defense minister meets with FAST foundation president

14:08 • 18/09

NASA's new spacecraft captures photo of more than a dozen celestial objects known to host exoplanets in stunning 'first light' image

13:45 • 18/09

Pakistan's austerity car auction falls short, new PM commutes by helicopter

13:25 • 18/09

Armenian family’s 400-year-old musical secret still rings true

13:17 • 18/09

Russia blames Israel for downing of plane, vows retaliation

12:45 • 18/09

Chief architect of Yerevan sacked

12:25 • 18/09

Republic Square selected as 'hot spot' of independence day events to symbolize success in ‘Velvet Revolution’

11:26 • 18/09

Libarman’s visit to Baku signals strengthening Azerbaijani-Israeli relations

11:09 • 18/09

Zhoghovurd: OSCE to turn closer spotlight on situation along Karabakh frontline

10:35 • 18/09

Russian military plane disappears during Israeli strikes on Latakia with 14 people on board

10:13 • 18/09

Zhamanak: Putin planning meeting with former presidents in Yerevan

09:56 • 18/09

SpaceX unveils first Moon Loop tourist

09:51 • 18/09

Sean Penn Calls #MeToo Movement ‘Receptacle of the Salacious’

09:44 • 18/09

Florence leaves 'monumental disaster' for North Carolina

09:31 • 18/09

Magnitude 1.9 earthquake hits Armenia’s south

09:13 • 18/09

SpaceX signs first private moon customer

09:12 • 18/09

Russia and Turkey agree to create buffer zone in Syria's Idlib

19:40 • 17/09

Facts, figures, and Results: Zvartnots International Airport reports details on its activity and not օnly

17:53 • 17/09

French actor Gerard Depardieu 'wants' to acquire Turkish citizenship

17:35 • 17/09

New head of OSCE Mission to Skopje takes office

17:23 • 17/09

Ukraine's Poroshenko terminates Treaty of Friendship with Russia

16:38 • 17/09

Samsung’s Galaxy Note 9 reportedly catches fire in user’s purse  

16:05 • 17/09

Zohrab Mnatsakanyan: Nagorno-Karabakh is not just conflict for Armenia

15:17 • 17/09

Turkish Coast Guard rescues 16 migrants as boat capsizes

14:46 • 17/09

Yerevan hosts 11th Armrobotics Championship

12:46 • 17/09

Britain’s oldest person reveals secret of longevity  

12:33 • 17/09

Arthur Abraham takes part in 45th BMW Berlin Marathon

12:02 • 17/09

Penelope Cruz dazzles in elegant one-shoulder gown as she joins husband Javier Bardem for LA screening of Loving Pablo

11:34 • 17/09

Armenian, Artsakh foreign ministers meet in Stepanakert

11:10 • 17/09

Turkey to increase troops in Turkish Cyprus

10:43 • 17/09

Elon Musk says Tesla now in 'delivery logistics hell'

10:14 • 17/09

Azerbaijan's armed forces open fire on Armenia’s south from Nakhicehvan

09:51 • 17/09

As Trump and Mattis clash in public, officials question how long he'll last at the Pentagon

09:37 • 17/09

It's not novichok, say police: 'Russian' couple fall ill at Salisbury restaurant with nerve-agent symptoms

09:15 • 17/09

New doubts emerge about US-led sanctions on North Korea

14:49 • 15/09

No more favoritism or privileged classes in Armenia - Pashinyan's interview with Le Monde

14:02 • 15/09

Kocharyan’s statements reflect level of his political understanding – Nikol Pashinyan

13:12 • 15/09

International Figure Skating Classic 2018: Armenia’s Slavik Hayrapetyan ranks fifth (video)

12:48 • 15/09

Erdogan travels to Baku  

12:07 • 15/09

Russian Orthodox church cuts ties with Constantinople over Ukraine

11:23 • 15/09

Zhamanak: Gyumri mayor 'to quit' over 'failure to work effectively' with Pashinyan's cabinet

10:49 • 15/09

Turkey demands release of 16-year-old boy held in Armenia

09:50 • 15/09

Jean-Claude Van Damme arrives in Armenia  

09:42 • 15/09

Nebraska doctor to face execution for killing four people

09:32 • 15/09

Azerbaijan shells border village in Armenia’s Tavush region

17:43 • 14/09

Jean-Claude Van Damme to visit Armenia

17:37 • 14/09

Apple criticized for new iPhones 'too big for women to hold'

16:27 • 14/09

French, Armenian leaders start working meeting in Paris

16:10 • 14/09

Armenian Genocide museum elects new director

15:26 • 14/09

Animals snapped enjoying surprise snowfall in South Africa

15:00 • 14/09

Armenian biker named double winner in Astana championship  

14:21 • 14/09

‘Velvet Revolution’ marked also revolution of values in Armenia – Nikol Pashinyan

12:49 • 14/09

Azerbaijan braces for military drills 'in response' to Armenia

12:05 • 14/09

Ucom to start pre-registration of iPhone XS and XS Max purchase

12:03 • 14/09

Amazon's Jeff Bezos commits $2 billion to help homeless, pre-schools

11:54 • 14/09

Hurricane Florence: Life threatening storm lashes US

11:09 • 14/09

Armenia 'important role-player' in global politics, prime minister says in France

10:01 • 14/09

US congressman raises call for Armenian Genocide recognition

09:31 • 14/09

Saroyan world premiere adds dates in Fresno and OC, announces encore L A performance

09:19 • 14/09

Gas explosions hit homes in Massachusetts

18:08 • 13/09

Mbappe better than Ronaldo, says De Vrij

17:42 • 13/09

We understand Armenian government’s desire to help compatriots in Syria - US Embassy

17:23 • 13/09

Meghan Markle pregnant? Bookies expecting baby announcement soon

17:06 • 13/09

US government encourages open labs in Armenia – embassy statement

16:36 • 13/09

Edward Nalbandian: Prime minister misleadingly accused former government of failure over Karabakh

15:01 • 13/09

Pashinyan vows to 'lock up' masterminds behind March 1 events  

14:09 • 13/09

Six killed in California shooting

13:55 • 13/09

Apple ends iPhone X and iPhoe SE sale

13:09 • 13/09

Trump signs order to punish US meddlers

12:55 • 13/09

Turkey to use national currency in property transactions

12:37 • 13/09

Pashinyan will regret messing with me – Robert Kocharyan