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Dark matter: A new tool in the search for axions

Researchers from the worldwide BASE collaboration at CERN, Switzerland, which is led by the RIKEN Basic Symmetries Laboratory, have found a brand new avenue to seek for axions — a hypothetical particle that is among the candidates of darkish matter particles. The group, which normally performs ultra-high precision measurements of the basic properties of trapped antimatter, has for the primary time used the ultra-sensitive superconducting single antiproton detection system of their superior Penning lure experiment as a delicate darkish matter antenna.

If our present understanding of cosmology is right, odd “seen” matter solely makes up 5 p.c of the entire vitality content material of the universe. One other 26 p.c is believed to be a mysterious substance referred to as “chilly darkish matter.” As a result of this hypothetical “darkish matter” doesn’t work together strongly with odd matter, this can be very onerous to detect, and because of this its precise microscopic properties have but to be understood. One chance is that “darkish matter” is a brand new kind of particle, referred to as an axion. In actual fact, there are a selection of worldwide physics packages attempting to find darkish matter “axions” or “axion-like particles” utilizing very several types of detectors.

If axions and axion-like darkish matter particles (ALPs) exist, they oscillate via the galaxy at attribute frequencies outlined by their plenty. In robust magnetic fields, reminiscent of these current in Penning lure experiments, the particles would possibly convert into electromagnetically interacting photons. Like a musician hitting a string of their instrument, the transformed ALPs would then excite the detection resonators of the delicate single particle detectors inflicting them to reverberate, permitting the induced darkish matter “sound” to be detected.

Due to the ultra-high sensitivity of the single-antiproton detectors used within the BASE experiment, the researchers had been in a position to set new laboratory limits on the coupling of axion-like particles and photons. Although no ALP-induced sign was detected, the axion-to-photon coupling limits which had been reached had been much like the boundaries derived from astrophysical searches and represent, in a slender mass vary, the most effective laboratory limits derived up to now. The mix of Penning-trap and single particle detection strategies moreover allows detector noise-level calibration by single-particle quantum thermometry, a sublime technique that may present model-independent calibration of coupling limits. As well as, this newly found avenue of utilizing precision Penning lure experiments as axion detectors has the potential to be prolonged to different lure experiments, and to derive axion-photon coupling limits in a lot broader mass ranges. In keeping with Stefan Ulmer, who heads the Basic Symmetries Laboratory, “With a function built-experiment, combining the already accessible applied sciences with increased magnetic fields, and decrease detector temperatures, we’re optimistic that we can enhance the boundaries by at the least an element of 100, and with ongoing developments, we could possibly enhance the present detection bandwidth by at the least an element of three,000.”

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Materials offered by RIKEN. Word: Content material could also be edited for model and size.

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