Oct 24, 2020

Precision metrology closes in on dark matter

Posted by in categories: cosmology, particle physics

Optical clocks are so accurate that it would take an estimated 20 billion years—longer than the age of the universe—to lose or gain a second. Now, researchers in the U.S. led by Jun Ye’s group at the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the University of Colorado have exploited the precision and accuracy of their optical clock and the unprecedented stability of their crystalline silicon optical cavity to tighten the constraints on any possible coupling between particles and fields in the standard model of physics and the so-far elusive components of dark matter.

The existence of dark matter is indirectly evident from gravitational effects at galactic and cosmological scales, but beyond that, little is known of its nature. One of the effects that falls out of theoretical analysis of dark matter coupling to particles in the standard model of physics is a resulting oscillation in . Ye and collaborators figured that if their world-class metrology equipment could not detect these oscillations, then this apparently null result would be useful confirmation that the strength of dark matter interactions with particles in the standard model of physics must be even lower than dictated by the constraints so far on record.

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