Since dark matter has not yet been detected and it is not known whether it is made by known, theorized or completely unknown particles, several scientists are conducting innovative experiments to find it in previously unexplored intervals of particle mass and energy.
As far as we know, dark matter could also be composed of something that could not be categorized in the concept we have of particle. But it could also be composed of ultra-light theoretical particles, such as wave-shaped particles called assions. A new approach is that dark matter could be much lighter, that is, with a lower mass and a weaker energy level, than ever before terrorized.
This is the approach that Kathryn Zurek, a theoretical physics at Berkeley Lab, is using.
According to the scientist, there are some theoretical ideas about dark matter that have blossomed in recent years that are becoming “mainstream” with respect to more classic theories, such as those, for example, related to WIMP particles. We talk about low mass dark matter, a theory that according to the scientist herself is now spreading more and more.
Zurek himself is ready to focus on experiments to find particles of dark matter with a mass smaller than a proton, a subatomic particle inside the nucleus that weighs about 1850 times an electron.
This new effort, which will focus more on the search for characteristics related to mass, will have “the overall goal of finally understanding the nature of the dark matter of the universe.”
The scientist, together with her group, is now ready, thanks to a funding of 24 million dollars provided by the U.S. Department of Energy to his laboratory, to use the most modern accelerators available to his institute to detect any single galactic particles, which could compose dark matter, that have a mass up to about a trillion times less than that of a proton.
Such a possible “lightness” would also explain why dark matter has never been identified until now, basically because it is imperceptible with any instrument. Initially researchers will focus on helium crystals and gallium arsenide crystals which could present interactions between low mass dark matter particles.