Dark matter is the mysterious mass that accounts for more than 20% of the Universe. This mass is called ‘dark’ because it does not interact with matter and photons of any wavelength, therefore making it invisible. How did we become aware of its existence? We know this matter exists because its gravitational effects have been observed in numerous galaxies. For years Dark matter has gotten away undetected, both directly and indirectly. But, scientists say their may still be a way to “look” at it!
Dark Particles and Dark Photons
There are many particles in the Standard Model of Particle physics, our best description of three out of the four fundamental forces. It explains how different elementary particles lead to the different forces. Some of these particles include electrons, quarks, neutrinos, etc. But, these only describe the interactions for normal matter and this normal matter only accounts for 5% of the universe.
Some scientists speculate that if there are so many particles for describing such a small portion of the universe, there may be many more particles that describe the “dark” part of the universe. These particles have been dubbed “dark particles”.
One such theoretical of dark particle is the “dark photon”. The dark photon will be similar to a normal photon. It will be the same electromagnetic force carrier as a normal photon and it will be massless as well. But, the dark photon will interact only with dark matter. Some scientists speculate that at certain occasions, a dark particle might interact with a normal photon. But such a feature could not have gone unnoticed.
What research is being done for their discovery?
Researchers around the world are conducting various experiments to “shed some light” on dark photons. The NA64 experiment being conducted at CERN is one of them. this experiments aims at discovering dark photons by shooting a beam of particles at an atomic nuclei. The energy analysis of the experiment would then give us some information about dark photons and their existence.
For more quantum mechanics and dark stuff, check out other articles on the website,