Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers Say South Pole Detector Could Yield Signs Of Extra Dimensions

26.01.2006


Scientists May Soon Have Evidence for Exotic Predictions of String Theory

Researchers at Northeastern University and the University of California, Irvine say that scientists might soon have evidence for extra dimensions and other exotic predictions of string theory. Early results from a neutrino detector at the South Pole, called AMANDA, show that ghostlike particles from space could serve as probes to a world beyond our familiar three dimensions, the research team says.

No more than a dozen high-energy neutrinos have been detected so far. However, the current detection rate and energy range indicate that AMANDA’s larger successor, called IceCube, now under construction, could provide the first evidence for string theory and other theories that attempt to build upon our current understanding of the universe.



An article describing this work appears in the current issue of Physical Review Letters. The authors are: Luis Anchordoqui, associate research scientist in the Physics Department at Northeastern University; Haim Goldberg, professor in the Physics Department at Northeastern University; and Jonathan Feng, associate professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at University of California, Irvine. The evidence, they say, would come from how neutrinos interact with other forms of matter on Earth.

"To find clues to support string theory and other bold, new theories, we need to study how matter interacts at extreme energies," said Anchordoqui. "Human-made particle accelerators on Earth cannot yet generate these energies, but nature can in the form of the highest-energy neutrinos."

In recent decades, new theories have developed – such as string theory, extra dimensions and supersymmetry – to bridge the gap between the two most successful theories of the 20th century, general relativity and quantum mechanics. Quantum mechanics describes three of the fundamental forces of nature: electromagnetism, strong forces (binding atomic nuclei) and weak forces (seen in radioactivity). It is, however, incompatible with Einstein’s general relativity, the leading description of the fourth force, gravity. Scientists hope to find one unified theory to provide a quantum description of all four forces.

Clues to unification, scientists say, lie at extreme energies. On Earth, human-made particle accelerators have already produced energies at which electromagnetic forces and weak forces are indistinguishable. Scientists have ideas about how the next generation of accelerators will reveal that strong forces are indistinguishable from the weak and electromagnetic at yet higher energies. Yet to probe deeper to see gravity’s connection to the other three forces, still higher energies are needed.

Anchordoqui and his colleagues say that extragalactic sources can serve as the ultimate cosmic accelerator, and that neutrinos from these sources smacking into protons can release energies in the realm where the first clues to string theory could be revealed.

Neutrinos are elementary particles similar to electrons, but they are far less massive, have neutral charge, and hardly interact with matter. They are among the most abundant particles in the universe; untold billions pass through our bodies every second. Most of the neutrinos reaching Earth are lower-energy particles from the sun.

AMANDA, funded by the National Science Foundation, attempts to detect neutrinos raining down from above but also coming "up" through the Earth. Neutrinos are so weakly interacting that some can pass through the entire Earth unscathed. The total number of "down" and "up" neutrinos is uncertain; however, barring exotic effects, the relative detection rates are well known.

AMANDA detectors are positioned deep in the Antarctic ice. The NSF-funded IceCube has a similar design, only it has about six times more detectors covering a volume of one cubic kilometer. A neutrino smashing into atoms in the ice will emit a brief, telltale blue light; and using the detectors, scientists can determine the direction where the neutrino came from and its energy.

The key to the work presented here is that the scientists are comparing "down" to "up" detections and looking for discrepancies in the detection rate, evidence of an exotic effect predicted by new theories.

"String theory and other possibilities can distort the relative numbers of ’down’ and ’up’ neutrinos," said Jonathan Feng. "For example, extra dimensions may cause neutrinos to create microscopic black holes, which instantly evaporate and create spectacular showers of particles in the Earth’s atmosphere and in the Antarctic ice cap. This increases the number of ’down’ neutrinos detected. At the same time, the creation of black holes causes ’up’ neutrinos to be caught in the Earth’s crust, reducing the number of ’up’ neutrinos. The relative ’up’ and ’down’ rates provide evidence for distortions in neutrino properties that are predicted by new theories."

"The neutrinos accelerated in the cosmos to energies unattainable on Earth can detect the ’footprint’ of new physics," said Goldberg. "The ’body’ responsible for the footprint can then emerge through complementary experiments at the new generation of human-made colliders. On all fronts, it is an exciting era in high-energy physics."

More information about AMANDA and IceCube is available at the IceCube website, http://www.icecube.wisc.edu.

About Northeastern:

Northeastern University, located in the heart of Boston, Massachusetts, is a world leader in practice-oriented education and recognized for its expert faculty and first-rate academic and research facilities. Northeastern integrates challenging liberal arts and professional studies with the nation’s largest cooperative education program. Through co-op, Northeastern undergraduates alternate semesters of full-time study with semesters of paid work in fields relevant to their professional interests and major, giving them nearly two years of professional experience upon graduation. The majority of Northeastern graduates receive a job offer from a co-op employer. Cited for excellence four years running by U.S. News & World Report, Northeastern has quickly moved up into the top tier rankings-an impressive 35 spots in four years. In addition, Northeastern was named a top college in the 2006 edition of the Princeton Review’s annual "Best Colleges" issue.

Laura E. Shea | Northeastern University
Further information:
http://www.northeastern.edu
http://www.icecube.wisc.edu.

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht More than 100 years of flooding and erosion in 1 event
28.03.2017 | Geological Society of America

nachricht Satellites reveal bird habitat loss in California
28.03.2017 | Duke University

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes

The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.

To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Transport of molecular motors into cilia

28.03.2017 | Life Sciences

A novel hybrid UAV that may change the way people operate drones

28.03.2017 | Information Technology

NASA spacecraft investigate clues in radiation belts

28.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>