Researchers Have Experimented with New "Dark Monopoles" in Search of Dark Matter

How to discern dark matter and what it is, may have just been made easier by a team of two researchers.

Researchers Have Experimented with New "Dark Monopoles" in Search of Dark Matter
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Dark matter has remained an elusive topic for physicists and researchers.

It is thought to make up over 25 percent of our universe, yet it cannot directly be observed. So far, it can only be detected because its gravity controls the shape of far off galaxies.

The work of two theoretical physicists from the University of California Davis may change our knowledge of dark matter. They claim to have found a new component to dark matter, and how to detect it. 

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Their work was presented on June 6 at the Planck 2019 conference in Granada, Spain.

What do we know so far about dark matter?

For a while now, physicists have believed that dark matter is made up of the Weakly Interacting Massive Particle (WIMP). However, even after years of research, WIMPs have not, in fact, been detected.

"We still don't know what dark matter is," said John Terning, Professor of physics at UC Davis and co-author of the paper.

"The primary candidate for a long time was the WIMP, but it looks like that's almost completely ruled out."

The runner up to WIMPs as a model of dark matter is a form of "dark electromagnetism" which includes "dark photons" and other particles.

In this new research, Terning and his co-researcher Christopher Verhaaren added a new component: a dark magnetic "monopole" that interacts with the dark photon.

What is a monopole?

Simply put, it is a particle that resembles one side of a magnet. Monopole, in quantum theory, is hypothesized to exist but have yet to be observed in an experiment. 

What Terning and Verhaaren are suggesting is that dark monopoles would end up interacting with dark photons and dark electrons, much in the same way that theory predicts electrons and photons to interact with monopoles.

How will dark matter be detected now?

This new theory suggests a way to detect these dark particles.

It has been previously suggested that an electron moving in a circular motion by a monopole would react and change its wave function. By passing through the monopole, it ends up being slightly out of phase, by the time it reaches the other side.

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Terning and Verhaaren believe that a dark monopole can be detected because of the way it shifts the phase of electrons as they pass by.

"This is a new type of dark matter but it comes with a new way to look for it as well," Terning said.

The research is still ongoing, so we will have to remain patient before knowing the real truth of the "dark matter".

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