The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand, they are roughly 10 billion times lighter than electrons; on the other, their interaction with other matter particles is extremely weak, and thus leaves hardly a trace.
Axions can react with light particles (photons) in a very strong magnetic field, and thus become detectable. The new detector concept, which the scientists at the MPP want to develop and test together with other research institutions, is based on this fundamental assumption. The kick-off meeting will take place on November 21 and 22 at the MPP.
Focus on axions formed after the cosmic inflation
There are two justified scenarios for the formation of axions: The particles could have formed even before the cosmic inflation, the rapid expansion of the universe after the Big Bang. A second scenario puts the “birth” of the axions after the inflation.
The planned experiment is set to focus on the detection of axions from the post-inflationary scenario. The scientists estimate the mass of these axions to be between 40 and 400 microelectronvolts. This assumption is supported by a study recently published in Nature as well. The wavelength of the photons in this case is in the microwave region of the electromagnetic spectrum; their frequency is between 10 and 100 gigahertz.
The conversion of axions into photons is a rare event; moreover, it must be possible to reliably distinguish the axion-photon yield from other light particles in the electromagnetic spectrum.
The experiment consists of three sections and comprises:
- a tubular, 10-tesla magnet in whose field the axion-photon reaction is to take place,
- a module with 80 semi-transparent disks made of lanthanum aluminate – diameter up to 1 meter – in which the photons are produced so as to be “constructively” superimposed and thus become easier to measure,
- a detector to detect the photons.
Detection of one photon per second
In this system, axions can be converted into photons on the surfaces of the disks. When the plate separation is correct, they superimpose to form a stronger signal; at the same time, the photons can leave the system unhindered in the direction of the detector.
The physicists hope that it will thus be possible to produce one photon per second with a precisely defined wavelength. They would then need several years to measure the complete mass range between 40 and 100 microelectronvolts, however.
An instrument whose structure is similar to that of a radio telescope, albeit several times smaller, is to be used as the actual detection instrument. The detector cooled with liquid helium to -270 degrees Celsius receives the incoming microwave signal, which is amplified and then recorded.
The MPP will commission a design study for the construction and commissioning of the magnet. The MPP scientists hope for initial results in mid-2018.
Dr. Béla Majorovits
Max Planck Institute for Physics
phone: +49 89 32354-262
Barbara Wankerl | Max-Planck-Institut für Physik
Structured light and nanomaterials open new ways to tailor light at the nanoscale
23.04.2018 | Academy of Finland
On the shape of the 'petal' for the dissipation curve
23.04.2018 | Lobachevsky University
At the Hannover Messe 2018, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) will show how, in the future, astronauts could produce their own tools or spare parts in zero gravity using 3D printing. This will reduce, weight and transport costs for space missions. Visitors can experience the innovative additive manufacturing process live at the fair.
Powder-based additive manufacturing in zero gravity is the name of the project in which a component is produced by applying metallic powder layers and then...
Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.
Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...
University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.
Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.
Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.
Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...
Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.
The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
09.04.2018 | Event News
24.04.2018 | Information Technology
24.04.2018 | Earth Sciences
24.04.2018 | Life Sciences