Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers find clue to start of universe

02.09.2005


Photo / Alan Rogers, Haystack Observatory - Close-up view of the crossed dipole elements of the array used to detect deuterium at radio wavelengths at MIT’s Haystack Observatory in Westford


If you want to hear a little bit of the Big Bang, you’re going to have to turn down your stereo.

That’s what neighbors of MIT’s Haystack Observatory found out. They were asked to make a little accommodation for science, and now the results are in: Scientists at Haystack have made the first radio detection of deuterium, an atom that is key to understanding the beginning of the universe. The findings are being reported in an article in the Sept. 1 issue of Astrophysical Journal Letters.

The team of scientists and engineers, led by Alan E.E. Rogers, made the detection using a radio telescope array designed and built at the MIT research facility in Westford, Mass. Rogers is currently a senior research scientist and associate director of the Haystack Observatory.



After gathering data for almost one year, a solid detection was obtained on May 30.

The detection of deuterium is of interest because the amount of deuterium can be related to the amount of dark matter in the universe, but accurate measurements have been elusive. Because of the way deuterium was created in the Big Bang, an accurate measurement of deuterium would allow scientists to set constraints on models of the Big Bang.

Also, an accurate measurement of deuterium would be an indicator of the density of cosmic baryons, and that density of baryons would indicate whether ordinary matter is dark and found in regions such as black holes, gas clouds or brown dwarfs, or is luminous and can be found in stars. This information helps scientists who are trying to understand the very beginning of our universe.

Until now the deuterium atom has been extremely difficult to detect with instruments on Earth. Emission from the deuterium atom is weak since it is not very abundant in space-there is approximately one deuterium atom for every 100,000 hydrogen atoms, thus the distribution of the deuterium atom is diffuse. Also, at optical wavelengths the hydrogen line is very close to the deuterium line, which makes it subject to confusion with hydrogen; but at radio wavelengths, deuterium is well separated from hydrogen and measurements can provide more consistent results.

In addition, our modern lifestyle, filled with gadgets that use radio waves, presented quite a challenge to the team trying to detect the weak deuterium radio signal. Radio frequency interference bombarded the site from cell phones, power lines, pagers, fluorescent lights, TV, and in one case from a telephone equipment cabinet where the doors had been left off. To locate the interference, a circle of yagi antennas was used to indicate the direction of spurious signals, and a systematic search for the RFI sources began.

At times, Rogers asked for help from Haystack’s neighbors, and in several instances replaced a certain brand of answering machine that was sending out a radio signal with one that did not interfere with the experiment. The interference caused by one person’s stereo system was solved by having a part on the sound card replaced by the factory.

The other members of the team working with Rogers are Kevin Dudevoir, Joe Carter, Brian Fanous and Eric Kratzenberg (all of Haystack Observatory) and Tom Bania of Boston University.

The Deuterium Array at Haystack is a soccer-field size installation conceived and built at the Haystack facility with support from the National Science Foundation, MIT and TruePosition Inc.

Madeleine Needles | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.haystack.mit.edu
http://www.mit.edu

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Further Improvement of Qubit Lifetime for Quantum Computers
09.12.2016 | Forschungszentrum Jülich

nachricht Electron highway inside crystal
09.12.2016 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>