Scientists introduced a novel method of searching for a type of dark matter known as axions. It is a modified version of this technique may have useful “real life” applications.
Most of the universe is now thought to consist of dark matter. It is a mysterious substance which are almost impossible to detect. Physicists have been searching for it for decades. They have used different techniques. Institut Néel, Grenoble, France scientists have developed a novel method of searching for one type of dark matter named axions.
Axions are hypothetical particles that were introduced in the 1970s to plug a gap in the Standard Model of particle physics. Its name was the strong CP problem.
The methods used to look for axions differ from the typical particle physics experiments that involve colliding fast-moving particles in accelerators. These experiments search for weak electromagnetic anomalies that can be detected at extremely low energy and indicate axions coupling to other fundamental particles.
It involves placing a sample of magnetic material in a very well controlled environment close to the absolute zero of temperature. Then monitoring it for the anomalous variations in magnetization that might indicate axion activity.
The system is a type of magnetometer known as a haloscope after the Dark Matter halo of the Milky Way. This experiment is named QUAX and it is not yet sensitive enough to be able to detect axions.