A team of international researchers, led by experts at the University of Adelaide, is delving into the mysterious realm of dark matter in hopes of unraveling its nature. Dark matter, which constitutes 84% of the matter in the universe, continues to baffle scientists despite its gravitational interactions being established. Professor Anthony Thomas, Elder Professor of Physics at the University of Adelaide, explains that the elusive dark matter may be better understood through the exploration of dark photons, theoretical massive particles that could act as a link between the dark sector of particles and regular matter.
Regular matter, which forms our physical world, is significantly less abundant than dark matter, with five times more dark matter present. Unraveling the mysteries surrounding dark matter is one of the foremost challenges for physicists worldwide. Dark photons, being hypothetical hidden sector particles similar to the photon of electromagnetism, are considered as potential force carriers connected to dark matter. As part of their research, Professor Thomas and his colleagues at the Australian Research Council Center of Excellence for Dark Matter Particle Physics, including Professor Martin White, Dr. Xuangong Wang, and Nicholas Hunt-Smith, are investigating existing theories about dark matter to gain insight into this crucial substance.
Their latest study focuses on the potential impact that dark photons could have on experimental results from the deep inelastic scattering process. This process involves examining the insides of hadrons, like protons and neutrons, by accelerating particles to extremely high energies and analyzing the by-products of their collisions. The team utilized the Jefferson Lab Angular Momentum (JAM) parton distribution function global analysis framework to modify the underlying theory and accommodate the possibility of a dark photon. Their research indicates that the dark photon hypothesis is more favored than the standard model hypothesis, providing evidence for the potential discovery of a particle.
The team’s findings have been published in the Journal of High Energy Physics. Further exploration of dark photons and their connection to dark matter could lead to a better understanding of these enigmatic phenomena and their role in the universe.
– N. T. Hunt-Smith et al, Global QCD analysis and dark photons, Journal of High Energy Physics (2023).
– Universiti Adelaide