Physicists have developed a new method for the search for hypothetical dark matter particles in the laboratory. They offer to axions in the collision of two intense laser beams — sensitivity of such experience comparable with astrophysical experiments, while the results in lesser extent depend on the model. Article published in the journal Physical Review D.
Called dark matter hypothetical kind of matter that does not participate in electromagnetic interaction. Today the existence of this component indicates a number of astrophysical evidence, but the model with her successfully describe and predict the observed phenomena (learn more in the material “the Invisible cement of the Universe”). However, scientists still do not know what makes up dark matter — any of the hypothetical particles whose existence is predicted by the theory, to register on the detectors is not possible. Experiments in this region are of great importance — despite the results, they allow to obtain constraints on the unknown characteristics of dark matter particles, to adjust the theory and to narrow the scope of subsequent searches.
British physicists under the direction of Konstantin Beyer (Beyer Konstantin A.) from Oxford University proposed a different approach to search for axions, a so — called hypothetical particle, which introduces one of the most known theoretical models to solve problems in quantum chromodynamics. The researchers considered the appearance of axions in the collision of two laser beams (which consists of photons) of high intensity. Born this way particles in the proposed scenarios pass through an obstacle (wall) and under the action of magnetic field turn back into photons that enter the detector. Since the path of the laser beams is an obstacle, detection of a photon on the other side of the wall in the absence of noise means the registration of the axion. In practice, the experimental setup allows to test the reliability of such events: it is enough to emit radiation in short pulses and synchronize them with the operation of the detector.
The authors found that the quality of the proposed experiment may compete with other experiments to search for dark matter. In particular, when a sufficiently long exposure (approximately one day per angular step) its sensitivity is comparable with the solar telescope laboratory CERN and reaches the characteristics of the axions that are predicted by quantum chromodynamics. However, the experience relies on fewer theoretical assumptions — this makes the methodology more reliable in comparison with alternative approaches.
The authors also note that the quality of the experiment could be increased through developing technologies to create laser systems: with the increasing number of photons in the beam at the same time increases the probability of axions. In addition, to strengthen the observed effects can be applied non-uniform magnetic field and to adjust the refractive index of the medium in which the transformation of the hypothetical particles in checked. The latter factors were not considered in the study, so the calculated sensitivity estimates are only lower limits — in practice, according to scientists, the results can be much better.
New methods to detect hypothetical particles proposed in other recent works. So, last year, physics has constrained the mass of dark matter through the pictures of the black hole, and in the present — suggested to use for new searches the already constructed detectors.