Scientists find a potential mystery of physics in their search for dark matter

2020-06-20

According to media reports, researchers at INFN's Gran Sasso National Laboratory (LNGS) have used the XENON1T detector to search for dark matter.The "surprises" that these dark-matter-seeking scientists inadvertently recorded could make them rethink modern physics.The researchers on the XENON1T detector team aren't entirely sure what they've found - and they don't claim it's dark matter - but it could be something equally exciting.

XENON1T is designed to observe the presence of tiny particles and is filled with 3.2 tons of liquid xenon gas, which acts as the sun's axis, the use of solar neutrinos to enhance the magnetic moment of neutrinos and the giant target of bosonic dark matter. When one of these particles passes through the target, it triggers light and free electrons from xenon atoms.

While XENON1T is beginning to be used to find dark matter from weakly interacting heavy particles (WIMPs), it has a great impact on the Other new particles and interactions were also sensitive. The scientists estimated the number of background events, but after comparing it to the actual data from the instrument, they found that it was more than the expected 232 There are 53 more events.

Where exactly these extras come from is the subject of a new paper currently being preprinted. "The excess Rhe signature is similar to the tiny residual amount of tritium (a hydrogen atom with one proton and two neutrons) that could cause the The result," the researchers suggest, "but could also be a sign of something even more exciting - such as a new type of solar axis known as a particles exist, or show previously unknown properties of neutrinos."

Part of the challenge for researchers is that the methods that ultimately confirm or disprove possible theories aren't always known. For example, if it's a trace amount of tritium, only a few atoms are needed to explain the strange results. However, there are no independent measurements that can confirm or disprove its existence at such a small level. Alternatively, the excess event could be from a new particle. It has been noted that the observed energy spectrum is actually similar to the axons produced in the Sun.

"Axons are hypothetical particles that have been proposed to preserve the time-reversal symmetry of nuclear forces, and the Sun could be a powerful source of them,'' " the XENON researchers explained. "Although these solar axons are not dark-matter candidates, their detection would mark the first step towards a class of well-motivated but never-observed The first observations of the new particle have great implications for our understanding of fundamental physics, as well as for astrophysical phenomena."

While not dark matter per se, such an axis could be a precursor. One theory is that the axis from the early universe could actually be the source of dark matter, which researchers believe accounts for matter's Most of the time. It is unlikely that researchers think that neutrinos could also be the "culprit". If that's the case, though, it's possible that the neutrino's magnetic moment is actually larger than the current Standard Model of elementary particles suggests. "This would be a strong hint that some other new physics would be needed to explain it," the team said.

While the XENON researchers are leaning toward the solar axis theory, it's impossible to say conclusively which theory is correct. However, this mystery may be resolved in the next phase of research, where XENON1T will be upgraded to XENONnT:. The active xenon mass is three times that of its predecessor. "With better data from the XENONnT," the researchers suggest, "the XENON collaboration is confident that soon the Discover whether this excess of data is simply a statistical fluke, a background pollutant, or something more exciting : A new particle or interaction that goes beyond known physics.


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