A group of researchers from the University of Tokyo proposes a new method for intercepting dark matter, a matter that does not interact with ordinary matter and whose existence has been presumed because of its large-scale gravitational effect.
One of the theories about dark matter is that it is made by particular particles called assions, a very light particle that could be detected by laser-based experiments.
Yuta Michimura of the Physics Department of the University of Tokyo states in the press release: “We assume that the assion is very light and barely interacts with our familiar types of matter. Therefore, he is considered a good candidate for dark matter. We don’t know the mass of assions, but we think it has a lower mass than electrons. Our universe is full of dark matter and it is estimated that there are 500 grams of dark matter within the Earth, about the mass of a squirrel.”
According to Koji Nagano, another researcher involved in this study, current models indicate that assions can affect the polarization of light and this suggests that they could be intercepted if light is reflected several times back into an optical cavity in turn made by two separate parallel mirrors.
As the researcher himself points out, structures like these are those of observatories to detect gravitational waves. For this reason, researchers suggest using observatories such as LIGO in the United States, Virgo in Italy or KAGRA in Japan to hunt down assions.
In fact, only relatively simple and especially low-cost modifications would suffice, which would not compromise their main functions and would not reduce the level of sensitivity necessary to identify distant gravitational waves.
According to the researchers, this would be a much more precise method than those used in the past to detect assions.
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