Researchers have presented a new model for what dark matter might be, a discovery that can lead scientists to invisible dark matter that is all around us yet no one has ever seen it and no one knows what it really is.
Physical calculations state that approximately 27 per cent of the universe is dark matter. Only five per cent is the matter of which all known materials consist: from the smallest ant to the largest galaxy.
For decades, researchers have tried to detect this invisible dark matter.
“Maybe it’s because we have looked after dark particles in a way that will never be able to reveal them. Maybe dark matter is of a different character and needs to be looked for in a different way,” explained Martin Sloth, associate professor at University of Southern Denmark.
For decades, physicists have been working on the theory that dark matter is light and therefore interacts weakly with ordinary matter.
This means that the particles are capable of being produced in colliders.
This theory’s dark particles are called weakly-interacting massive particles (WIMPs), and they are theorised to have been created in an inconceivably large number shortly after the birth of the universe 13.7 billion years ago.
“But since no experiments have ever seen even a trace of a WIMP, it could be that we should look for a heavier dark particle that interacts only by gravity and thus would be impossible to detect directly,” said Sloth.
Sloth and his colleagues call their version of such a heavy particle a PIDM (Planckian Interacting Dark Matter) particle.
Together with postdoc McCullen Sandora from CP3-Origins and postdoc Mathias Garny from CERN, Sloth now presents a new model for what dark matter might be in a paper published in the journal Physical Review Letters.
In their new model, they calculated how the required number of PIDM particles could have been created in the early universe.
“It was possible, if it was extremely hot. To be more precise the temperatures in the early universe must have been the highest possible in the Big Bang theory,” added Sloth.
“If the universe indeed was as hot as calculated in our model, several gravitational waves from the very early childhood of the universe would have been created. We might be able to find out in the near future,” he pointed out.
With this, Sloth refers to a number of planned experiments around the world that will be able to detect signals from very early gravitational waves.
“If these experiments do not detect such signals, then our model will be falsified. Thus gravitational waves can be used to test our model,” he added.
More than 10 different experiments are planned.
The team aims to measure the polarisation of the cosmic background radiation, either from the ground or with instruments sent up in a balloon or satellite to avoid atmospheric disturbances.