Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A new approach to the hunt for dark matter

14.11.2019

Researchers now harnessing antimatter in their search for dark matter

A study that takes a novel approach to the search for dark matter has been performed by the BASE Collaboration at CERN working together with a team at the PRISMA+ Cluster of Excellence at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU). For the first time the researchers are exploring how dark matter influences antimatter instead of standard matter.


Penning trap system of the BASE Collaboration

Foto/©: Stefan Sellner, Fundamental Symmetries Laboratory, RIKEN, Japan

Their findings are now published in the latest edition of eminent scientific journal Nature. They are the results of research undertaken by scientists at Japan’s RIKEN research center, the Max Planck Institute of Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg (MPIK) and the National Metrology Institute Braunschweig (PTB), working jointly in the Max Planck-RIKEN-PTB Center for Time, Constants and Fundamental Symmetries, as well as scientists from CERN, the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU), the Helmholtz Institute Mainz (HIM), the University of Tokyo, the GSI Helmholtz Center for Heavy Ion Research in Darmstadt and the Leibniz University Hannover.

“To date, scientists have always conducted high-precision experiments at low energies using matter-based samples in the hope of finding a link to dark matter,” explains Dr. Christian Smorra, the lead author of the study. Currently working at Japan’s RIKEN research institute, he intends to use an ERC Starting Grant to establish a work group at JGU’s Institute of Physics. “Now we’ve decided to search explicitly for interactions between dark matter and antimatter. It is generally assumed that interactions of dark matter will be symmetric for particles and antiparticles. Our study seeks to determine whether this is really the case.”

... more about:
»CERN »JGU »RIKEN »antiprotons »dark matter

The project’s participants in fact see a double benefit in this approach: Little is known at this point about the microscopic characteristics of dark matter. At present one much-discussed possible component of dark matter is what is known as ALPs (axion-like particles). Moreover, the standard model of particle physics offers no explanation of why there is apparently so much more matter than antimatter in our universe.

“Through our experiments, we hope to find clues that could provide a link between these two aspects,” notes Dr. Yevgeny Stadnik, who participated in the study as part of a Humboldt Fellowship at HIM. “Possible asymmetrical interactions of this kind have not yet been explored, neither at the theoretical nor at the experimental level. Our current research work is taking a first real step in that direction.”

Captured antiprotons could deliver insights into dark matter
The scientists are focusing their attention on one single antiproton that has been captured in a special device known as a Penning trap. The particle was produced by scientists using the Antiproton Decelerator (AD) at CERN, the world’s only research institution capable of generating low-energy antiprotons. The scientists then stored and experimented with the antiprotons created there using the BASE Collaboration’s trap system.

An antiproton has both a charge and a spin. Within a magnetic field, the spin precesses around the magnetic field lines at a constant, highly specific rate – known as the Larmor or spin precession frequency. “This means we can detect the presence of dark matter as it influences this frequency,“ says Christian Smorra.

“For this purpose, we assume that potential dark matter particles act in the same way as a classical field with a specific wavelength. The waves produced by dark matter pass continuously through our experiment and thus have a periodic effect on the spin precession frequency of the antiproton that would otherwise be expected to remain constant.”

Using their experimental set-up, the researchers have already explored a specific frequency range but without success - no evidence pointing to the influence of dark matter has come to light to date. “We’ve not yet been able to identify any significant and periodic changes to the antiproton’s spin precession frequency using our current measurement concept,” explains Stefan Ulmer, spokesperson of the BASE Collaboration at CERN. “But we have managed to achieve levels of sensitivity as much as five orders of magnitude greater than those employed for observations related to astrophysics. As a result, we can now redefine the upper limit for the strength of any potential interactions between dark matter and antimatter based on the levels of sensitivity we’ve managed to accomplish.“

Merging of two research groups
The current project in effect merged the efforts of two research groups. The BASE Collaboration at CERN has a long and successful history of research into the fundamental properties of antiprotons, while the group led by Prof. Dmitry Budker, a researcher at the PRISMA+ Cluster of Excellence at JGU and HIM, is very active in the search for dark matter and provided important interpretive input to the study. “We determined that there is a great deal of overlap in our research and this resulted in the idea for this new approach in the search for dark matter,” points out Dmitry Budker.

Going forward, the scientists hope to further enhance the precision of measurement of antiproton spin precession frequency – an essential requirement if the antimatter-based search for dark matter is to prove successful. In this connection, a team headed by Prof. Jochen Walz at the Institute of Physics at JGU, working in collaboration with MPIK and RIKEN, is developing new methods for cooling protons and antiprotons, while a group of scientists from PTB Braunschweig, the Leibniz University Hannover, and RIKEN is implementing methods for quantum logic based antiproton-spin-state readout. A variety of other promising and similar antiparticle-related studies also beckon, for example, using positrons and antimuons.

Image:
http://www.uni-mainz.de/bilder_presse/08_prisma+_Nature_Smorra__Experiment_BASE_...
Stefan Ulmer working at the BASE experiment at CERNs Antiproton Decelerator (AD).
Foto/©: Maximilien Brice / CERN

http://www.uni-mainz.de/bilder_presse/08_prisma+_Nature_smorra_BASE_CC.jpg
Penning trap system of the BASE Collaboration
Foto/©: Stefan Sellner, Fundamental Symmetries Laboratory, RIKEN, Japan

Wissenschaftliche Ansprechpartner:

Dr. Christian Smorra
Quantum, Atomic, and Neutron Physics (QUANTUM)
Institute of Physics
Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz
55099 Mainz
Tel.: +49 6131 39-25953
E-Mail: chsmorra@uni-mainz.de
https://www.phmi.uni-mainz.de/quanten-atom-und-neutronenphysik-quantum/

CERN
Dr. Stefan Ulmer
BASE spokesperson
1211 Geneva
Tel.: +41 75411-9072
E-Mail: stefan.ulmer@cern.ch
http://ulmerfsl.riken.jp/

Originalpublikation:

C. Smorra, Y. V. Stadnik, P. E. Blessing, M. Bohman, M. J. Borchert, J. A. Devlin, S. Erlewein, J. A. Harrington, T. Higuchi, A. Mooser, G. Schneider, M. Wiesinger, E. Wursten, K. Blaum, Y. Matsuda, C. Ospelkaus, W. Quint, J. Walz, Y. Yamazaki, D. Budker& S. Ulmer, „Direct limits on the interaction of antiprotons with axion-like dark matter“
DOI: 10.1038/s41586-019-1727-9
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-019-1727-9

Weitere Informationen:

http://base.web.cern.ch/ – BASE: Baryon Antibaryon Symmetry Experiment at CERN
https://www.blogs.uni-mainz.de/fb08-iph-eng/– Institute of Physics, JGU

Petra Giegerich | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Further reports about: CERN JGU RIKEN antiprotons dark matter

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Simple experiment explains magnetic resonance
09.12.2019 | University of California - Riverside

nachricht Electronic map reveals 'rules of the road' in superconductor
09.12.2019 | Rice University

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: Electronic map reveals 'rules of the road' in superconductor

Band structure map exposes iron selenide's enigmatic electronic signature

Using a clever technique that causes unruly crystals of iron selenide to snap into alignment, Rice University physicists have drawn a detailed map that reveals...

Im Focus: Developing a digital twin

University of Texas and MIT researchers create virtual UAVs that can predict vehicle health, enable autonomous decision-making

In the not too distant future, we can expect to see our skies filled with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) delivering packages, maybe even people, from location...

Im Focus: The coldest reaction

With ultracold chemistry, researchers get a first look at exactly what happens during a chemical reaction

The coldest chemical reaction in the known universe took place in what appears to be a chaotic mess of lasers. The appearance deceives: Deep within that...

Im Focus: How do scars form? Fascia function as a repository of mobile scar tissue

Abnormal scarring is a serious threat resulting in non-healing chronic wounds or fibrosis. Scars form when fibroblasts, a type of cell of connective tissue, reach wounded skin and deposit plugs of extracellular matrix. Until today, the question about the exact anatomical origin of these fibroblasts has not been answered. In order to find potential ways of influencing the scarring process, the team of Dr. Yuval Rinkevich, Group Leader for Regenerative Biology at the Institute of Lung Biology and Disease at Helmholtz Zentrum München, aimed to finally find an answer. As it was already known that all scars derive from a fibroblast lineage expressing the Engrailed-1 gene - a lineage not only present in skin, but also in fascia - the researchers intentionally tried to understand whether or not fascia might be the origin of fibroblasts.

Fibroblasts kit - ready to heal wounds

Im Focus: McMaster researcher warns plastic pollution in Great Lakes growing concern to ecosystem

Research from a leading international expert on the health of the Great Lakes suggests that the growing intensity and scale of pollution from plastics poses serious risks to human health and will continue to have profound consequences on the ecosystem.

In an article published this month in the Journal of Waste Resources and Recycling, Gail Krantzberg, a professor in the Booth School of Engineering Practice...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

The Future of Work

03.12.2019 | Event News

First International Conference on Agrophotovoltaics in August 2020

15.11.2019 | Event News

Laser Symposium on Electromobility in Aachen: trends for the mobility revolution

15.11.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

The Arctic atmosphere - a gathering place for dust?

09.12.2019 | Earth Sciences

New ultra-miniaturized scope less invasive, produces higher quality images

09.12.2019 | Information Technology

Discovery of genes involved in the biosynthesis of antidepressant

09.12.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>