A cutaway rendering of the ADMX detector. Image: ADMX collaboration
Topics: Dark Matter, Particle Physics, Theoretical Physics, Quantum Mechanics
Forty years ago, scientists theorized a new kind of low-mass particle that could solve one of the enduring mysteries of nature: what dark matter is made of. Now a new chapter in the search for that particle has begun.
This week, the Axion Dark Matter Experiment (ADMX) unveiled a new result, published in Physical Review Letters, that places it in a category of one: It is the world’s first and only experiment to have achieved the necessary sensitivity to “hear” the telltale signs of dark matter axions. This technological breakthrough is the result of more than 30 years of research and development, with the latest piece of the puzzle coming in the form of a quantum-enabled device that allows ADMX to listen for axions more closely than any experiment ever built.
ADMX is managed by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and located at the University of Washington. This new result, the first from the second-generation run of ADMX, sets limits on a small range of frequencies where axions may be hiding and sets the stage for a wider search in the coming years.
“This result signals the start of the true hunt for axions,” said Fermilab scientist Andrew Sonnenschein, the operations manager for ADMX. “If dark matter axions exist within the frequency band we will be probing for the next few years, then it’s only a matter of time before we find them.”
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The total lunar eclipse of Jan. 20-21, 2019, captured by astrophotographers Imelda Joson and Edwin Aguirre from the suburbs of Boston. From left to right: The start of totality, at 11:41 p.m. EST on Jan. 20; the middle of totality, at 12:12 a.m. on Jan. 21; and the end of totality at 12:44 a.m. Credit: Imelda Joson and Edwin Aguirre
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