Nav: Home

Placing another piece in the dark matter puzzle

October 25, 2019

A team led by Prof Dmitry Budker has continued their search for dark matter within the framework of the "Cosmic Axion Spin Precession Experiment" (or "CASPEr" for short). The CASPEr group conducts their experiments at the PRISMA+ Cluster of Excellence at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) and the Helmholtz Institute Mainz (HIM). CASPEr is an international research program that uses nuclear magnetic resonance techniques to identify and analyze dark matter.

Very little is known about the exact nature of dark matter. Currently, some of the most promising dark matter candidates are extremely light bosonic particles such as axions, axion-like particles or even dark photons. "These can also be regarded as a classical field oscillating at a certain frequency. But we can't yet put a figure on this frequency - and therefore the mass of the particles," explains Dmitry Budker. "That is why in the CASPEr research program we are systematically investigating different frequency ranges looking for hints of dark matter."

For this, the CASPEr team is developing various special nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) techniques, each targeted at a specific frequency range and therefore at a specific range of dark-matter particle masses. NMR generally relies on the fact that nuclear spins react to magnetic fields oscillating at a specific "resonance frequency". The resonance frequency is tuned via a second, usually static magnetic field. The fundamental idea of the CASPEr research program is that a dark matter field can influence the nuclear spins in the same way. As the Earth moves through this field, nuclear spins behave as if they would experience an oscillating magnetic field, thus generating a dark matter induced NMR spectrum.

In the current work, first author Antoine Garcon and his colleagues used a more exotic technique: ZULF (zero- to ultralow-field) NMR. "ZULF NMR provides a regime where nuclear spins interact more strongly with each other than they do with an external magnetic field," says corresponding author Dr. John W Blanchard. "In order to make the spins sensitive to dark matter, we only have to apply a very small external magnetic field, which is much easier to stabilize." Furthermore, for the first time the researchers examined ZULF NMR spectra of 13C-formic acid with respect to dark-matter-induced sidebands, employing a new analysis scheme to coherently average sidebands of arbitrary frequency over multiple measurements.

This particular form of sideband analysis enabled the scientists to search for dark matter in a new frequency range. No dark matter signal was detected, as the CASPEr team reports in the latest edition of Science Advances, allowing the authors to rule out ultralight dark matter with couplings above a particular threshold. At the same time, these results provide another piece of the dark matter puzzle and complement previous results from the CASPEr program reported in June, when the scientists explored even lower freuencies, using another specialized NMR method called "comagnetometry".

"Like a jigsaw puzzle, we combine various pieces within the CASPEr program to further narrow down the scope of the dark matter search," asserts Dmitry Budker. John Blanchard adds: "This is just the first step. We are currently implementing several very promising modifications to increase our experiment's sensitivity."
-end-


Johannes Gutenberg Universitaet Mainz

Related Dark Matter Articles:

Looking for dark matter with the universe's coldest material
A study in PRL reports on how researchers at ICFO have built a spinor BEC comagnetometer, an instrument for studying the axion, a hypothetical particle that may explain the mystery of dark matter.
Looking for dark matter
Dark matter is thought to exist as 'clumps' of tiny particles that pass through the earth, temporarily perturbing some fundamental constants.
New technique looks for dark matter traces in dark places
A new study by scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, UC Berkeley, and the University of Michigan -- published today in the journal Science - concludes that a possible dark matter-related explanation for a mysterious light signature in space is largely ruled out.
Researchers look for dark matter close to home
Eighty-five percent of the universe is composed of dark matter, but we don't know what, exactly, it is.
Galaxy formation simulated without dark matter
For the first time, researchers from the universities of Bonn and Strasbourg have simulated the formation of galaxies in a universe without dark matter.
Taking the temperature of dark matter
Warm, cold, just right? Physicists at UC Davis are using gravitational lensing to take the temperature of dark matter, the mysterious substance that makes up about a quarter of our universe.
New clues on dark matter from the darkest galaxies
Low-surface-brightness (LSB) galaxies offered important confirmations and new information on one of the largest mysteries of the cosmos: dark matter.
A new approach to the hunt for dark matter
A study that takes a novel approach to the search for dark matter has been performed by the BASE Collaboration at CERN working together with a team at the PRISMA+ Cluster of Excellence at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU).
Could the mysteries of antimatter and dark matter be linked?
RIKEN researchers and collaborators have performed the first laboratory experiments to determine whether a slightly different way in which matter and antimatter interact with dark matter might be a key to solving both mysteries.
Placing another piece in the dark matter puzzle
A team led by Prof Dmitry Budker has continued their search for dark matter within the framework of the 'Cosmic Axion Spin Precession Experiment' (or 'CASPEr' for short).
More Dark Matter News and Dark Matter Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: The Biology Of Sex
Original broadcast date: May 8, 2020. Many of us were taught biological sex is a question of female or male, XX or XY ... but it's far more complicated. This hour, TED speakers explore what determines our sex. Guests on the show include artist Emily Quinn, journalist Molly Webster, neuroscientist Lisa Mosconi, and structural biologist Karissa Sanbonmatsu.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#569 Facing Fear
What do you fear? I mean really fear? Well, ok, maybe right now that's tough. We're living in a new age and definition of fear. But what do we do about it? Eva Holland has faced her fears, including trauma and phobia. She lived to tell the tale and write a book: "Nerve: Adventures in the Science of Fear".
Now Playing: Radiolab

The Wubi Effect
When we think of China today, we think of a technological superpower. From Huweai and 5G to TikTok and viral social media, China is stride for stride with the United States in the world of computing. However, China's technological renaissance almost didn't happen. And for one very basic reason: The Chinese language, with its 70,000 plus characters, couldn't fit on a keyboard.  Today, we tell the story of Professor Wang Yongmin, a hard headed computer programmer who solved this puzzle and laid the foundation for the China we know today. This episode was reported and produced by Simon Adler with reporting assistance from Yang Yang. Special thanks to Martin Howard. You can view his renowned collection of typewriters at: antiquetypewriters.com Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.