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Science & Technology

Scientists launch hunt for mystery 'dark force'

By T.K. Randall
September 3, 2018 · Comment icon 9 comments

Can scientists find the 'dark force' ? Image Credit: S. Epps and M. Hudson / University of Waterloo.
The ambitious search for a fifth force of nature could revolutionize our understanding of the cosmos.
The precise nature of dark matter and dark energy, which are thought to account for up to 96% of the observable universe, remains one of the most important unsolved mysteries in modern physics.

Now in a renewed bid to find a way to understand this invisible 'dark sector' of the cosmos, scientists have launched a new search for a fifth fundamental force of nature - the so-called 'dark force'.

"At the moment, we don't know what more than 90% of the universe is made of," said researcher Mauro Raggi from the Sapienza University of Rome.

"If we find this force it will completely change the paradigm we have now. It would open up a new world and help us to understand the particles and forces that compose the dark sector."
The hunt itself will utilize an instrument known as the Positron Annihilation into Dark Matter Experiment (PADME) which is situated at the National Institute of Nuclear Physics near Rome.

The experiment involves bombarding a super-thin diamond wafer with a stream of positrons.

Normally what happens is that the positrons will merge with electrons and disappear in a faint burst of energy, producing two photons. If however the fifth 'dark force' actually exists, then sometimes these collisions should produce one photon and one 'dark' photon - the dark sector's equivalent.

"It would definitely be a huge thing in physics if some evidence of a dark sector was found," said Bryan McKinnon from the University of Glasgow. "Right now, it's labelled as such because it's the stuff we don't understand. If a door can be opened, what will come out? That's guesswork right now."

Source: The Guardian | Comments (9)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by MissJatti 6 years ago
Dark Force? Perhaps Luke Skywalker can help
Comment icon #2 Posted by XenoFish 6 years ago
Beat me to it.
Comment icon #3 Posted by Carlos Allende 6 years ago
I've got just the scientist  
Comment icon #4 Posted by Bunzilla 6 years ago
I'm surprised nobody has made a comment about how the project is called 'Padme' :P Not the most fortuitous name, considering its all about exploring the Dark Force. All jokes aside, this is pretty interesting.
Comment icon #5 Posted by GlitterRose 6 years ago
Oh my.  Let's hope not. Everybody be clawing out their eyes.
Comment icon #6 Posted by Ell 6 years ago
Those dark things do not exist.
Comment icon #7 Posted by Seti42 6 years ago
Silly and cryptic names aside, at least science is exploring and looking for explanations. As opposed to just saying "GOD did it" and ceasing all curiosity forever.
Comment icon #8 Posted by MyOtherAccount 6 years ago
That is an interesting thought! I'm going to make a stab at it--give it a go! We already know that matter and anti-matter do not combine in a 50-50 manner but more like 53-47. That would leave about 6% of matter as leftovers. Weird but true. I'm told the Big Bang (BB) created an equal portion of matter and anti-matter, which by now has probably combined about as much as they will. If we estimate the power involved in the BB, based on the creation of matter alone--as in the 6% leftover--we get a different figure of power than if we estimate based on 100% of matter and anti-matter, as in ab... [More]
Comment icon #9 Posted by paperdyer 6 years ago
Padme as in their grant?


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