A team of physicists at the University of Cambridge (UK) suspect that dark energy may have confused the results of the XENON1T experiment, a series of underground xenon basins used to search for dark matter.
Dark matter and dark energy are some of the most discussed problems in contemporary physics. “Darkness” are two names given to the space reserved for the mysterious things that seem to influence the behavior of the universe – and the things in it.
Dark matter refers to a seemingly invisible mass, recognizable by the effects of gravity. On the other hand, dark energy points to the reason (still inexplicable) for the accelerating expansion of the universe. Dark matter is believed to make up about 27% of the universe, while energy is 68%, according to NASA.
Physicists have certain ideas for explaining dark matter: axions, WIMPs, SIMPs, and primordial black holes, for example. But dark energy is more mysterious. Now, a group of researchers working on the XENON1T data says that the unexpected increase in activity could be due to this unknown force, not any candidate dark matter. The team’s research was published This week in Physical Review D.
The XENON1T experiment, conducted under the Apennine mountain range (in Italy), was configured to stay as far away from any noise as possible. It consists of troughs of liquid xenon that will light up if there is an interaction with a passing particle.
As reported in June 2020, XENON1T Team mentioned That the project had too many interactions under the Standard Model of physics, meaning it could detect subatomic particles as axes – a hypothetical elementary particle.
says Luca Vecinelli, researcher at Frascati National Laboratories, in release Cambridge University.
“We explored a model in which this signal could be attributed to dark energy, rather than the dark matter the experiment was originally designed to detect.”
Luca Vecinelli, co-author of the study
“First, we need to know that this wasn’t just a coincidence,” Vezinelli added. “If XENON1T really sees something, we would expect a similar increase in future trials, but this time there was a much stronger signal.”
Although it makes up a large part of the universe, dark energy has yet to be identified. Several models suggest that there may be a fifth force in addition to the four known fundamentals of the universe. In case: gravityAnd ElectromagneticAnd strong power NS weak strength. It will be hidden until we get some phenomena of a larger scale, such as the rapid gradual expansion of the universe.
Axions emerging from the Sun seemed like a possible explanation for the excess signal, but there were gaps, as this would require a review of what we know about stars. “Even our sun will not agree with the best theoretical models and experiments as it is now,” said one of the researchers. last year.
Since the surplus was discovered, the XENON1T team has tried to “destroy it anyway,” one researcher said New York times. Mark’s stubbornness is just as puzzling as it is sexy.
The next generation of XENON1T, called XENONnT, is scheduled to go into operation for the first time later this year. The experiment updates will mask any noise and help physicists determine exactly what is messing with the underground detector.
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