Progress in the cosmic puzzle: unlocking potential keys to understanding dark matter

Studying the axes could shed light on the 85% of matter in the universe that is currently invisible and known as dark matter

the Axionsa type of hypothetical subatomic particle, is among the top-ranked candidates physical To explain The phenomenon of “missing matter”. in it beingthat is Dark matter. The central question in the current research is: What does it consist of? The likely answer is that it is made of these molecules.

A team of astrophysicists led by researchers from universities Amsterdam And Princeton He showed that if dark matter was composed of it, it could appear as the subtle additional glow of pulsars. The conclusions were published in the journal Physical review letters.

It might be dark matter The most sought after part of our world. Surprisingly, this mysterious form of matter, which neither physicists nor astronomers have been able to detect yet, supposedly makes up a large part of what exists.

This is suspected At least 85% of the universe's matter is “dark.”Currently, it can only be observed through the gravitational pull it exerts on other astronomical objects. Scientists want to actually see dark matter, or at least detect its existence directly, not just infer it from gravitational effects. And of course: they want to know what it is.

Electromagnetic fields around pulsars can convert the axons into observable light, providing evidence of dark matter

Some issues have already been clarified: Dark matter cannot be the same type of matter that humans are made of. If so, it would simply behave like a normal being: it would form objects like stars, and would light up and not go dark. So, scientists are searching for something new: a type of particle that no one has yet discovered that perhaps interacts very weakly with the particles we know, which explains why this component of our universe has been so elusive until now.

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There are many clues about where to look. There is a common assumption that dark matter could be composed of axons. This hypothetical type of particle was first introduced in the 1970s to solve a problem unrelated to dark matter. It turns out that the separation of positive and negative charges inside the neutron, one of the basic building blocks of ordinary atoms, was unexpectedly small.

It turns out that the presence of a hitherto undiscovered type of particle, which interacts very weakly with the neutron components, can cause exactly this effect. Nobel Prize winner Frank Wilczek came up with a name for the new particle: Accion.

In their quest to solve the mystery of dark matter, scientists are exploring beyond the boundaries of the atom, studying subatomic particles such as axions, which could be key to understanding the formation of the universe.

Various theories of elementary particles, including string theory, are the main candidates for By unifying all the forces in nature, they seemed to predict the possibility of axion-like particles. If these do exist, could they also constitute some or even all of the missing dark matter? Perhaps, but an additional question haunting all dark matter research was also valid for axions: if so, how could they be seen? How can something dark be made visible?

If the theories predicting axons are correct, not only would they be expected to be produced in large quantities in the universe, but some axons could also be transformed into light in the presence of strong electromagnetic fields. Once there is light, it is possible to see. Could this be the key to detecting axons and thus discovering dark matter? To answer this question, scientists first had to investigate where the strongest known electric and magnetic fields in the universe are located.

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In this sense, they were able to discover that this happens in the regions surrounding rotating neutron stars, also known as Pulsars. They are dense objects, with a mass roughly equal to that of our Sun, but a radius about 100,000 times smaller, or only about 10 kilometers. Because of their small size, pulsars rotate at enormous frequencies, emitting narrow, bright beams along their axis of rotation. Similar to the lighthouse, lThe pulsar's rays can travel around the Earth, making the pulsar easier to see.

Axions, initially proposed to solve neutron anomalies, are now considered an explanation for dark matter

next to, A pulsar turns a neutron star into an extremely powerful electromagnet. This in turn may mean that they are Accion factories are highly efficient. Every second, the average pulsar will be able to produce a number of axes of 50 digits. Due to the strong electromagnetic field surrounding the pulsar, part of these axons can be converted into observable light. It would be enough to look at pulsars, see if they emit extra light, and if they do, determine if that extra light could come from the axons.

Making an observation of this kind is not easy. The light emitted by the axons, which can be detected as radio waves, will be only a small fraction of the total light emitted by these bright cosmic beacons. You need to know very precisely what a pulsar would look like without axes and one with them so you can see the difference, and then, quantify that difference and turn it into a measure of how dark it is.

And that's exactly what a team of physicists and astronomers did. In a collaborative effort between Netherlands, Portugal and the United States of AmericaTogether they have built a comprehensive theoretical framework that allows for a detailed understanding of the topic How are axions produced? How they escape the gravitational pull of a neutron star and how during their escape they transform into low-energy radio radiation.

Exploring the ends of the universe: Axion research opens new possibilities for understanding dark matter, an essential and still mysterious component of the universe

The theoretical results were then transferred to a computer to model axion production around pulsars, using state-of-the-art numerical simulations that were originally developed to understand the physics behind how pulsars emit radio waves. Once actually produced, the propagation of the axons through the electromagnetic fields of the neutron star was simulated. This allowed the researchers to quantitatively understand the subsequent production of radio waves and model how this process provides an additional signal in addition to the intrinsic emissions generated by the pulsar itself.

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The theory and simulation results were then subjected to the first observational test. Using details of 27 nearby pulsars, the researchers compared the radio waves with models, to see if any spikes measured could provide evidence of the existence of the axes. Unfortunately, the answer was no, or perhaps more optimistically, not yet. The pivots are not immediately obvious, but perhaps that was not expected. If dark matter revealed its secrets so easily, it would have been observed long ago.

At the same time, the lack of detection of radio signals from the interlocutors is in itself an interesting result. The first comparison between simulations and real pulsars has set the most stringent limits yet on the interaction that axons can have with light.

The ultimate goal is to prove the existence of axions or confirm that they are unlikely to be a component of dark matter. The new results are only a first step in this direction; It is just the beginning of what could become an entirely new, interdisciplinary field, and has the potential to make significant advances in research on axons.

Lovell Loxley

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