Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Revamped Experiment Could Detect Elusive Particle, Physicists Say

Date:
April 26, 2007
Source:
University of Florida
Summary:
An experiment called "shining light through walls" would seem hard to improve upon.

An experiment called “shining light through walls” would seem hard to improve upon.

But University of Florida physicists have proposed a way to do just that, a step they say considerably improves the chance of detecting one of the universe’s most elusive particles, a candidate for the common but mysterious dark matter.

In a paper that appears online today in the journal Physical Review Letters, physicists at the University of Florida and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory propose a redesign of the experiment currently being attempted in various forms by several groups of physicists worldwide. Although theoretical at the moment, they say their design could make such experiments a billion times more sensitive in their goal of detecting axions.

Axions are elemental particles whose confirmation would shed light on several different conundrums in particle physics. These could include pinning down the nature of dark matter, the mysterious substance said to make up 30 percent of the universe but so far observed only indirectly by its effects.

“A half dozen groups want to do this experiment, and some of them probably will try this approach,” said Pierre Sikivie, a faculty member in UF’s physics department and an author of the paper. “It works in principle, but in reality it will take some effort to set this up right so that it can produce a result.”

The unimproved experiment seeks to detect axions by shining a laser down the bore of a powerful superconducting magnet. A wall in the middle stops the laser cold, with the theoretical axions continuing through the wall and into the other side of the magnet. There, the magnet reconverts them into photons, or particles of light.

The detection of this light “reappearing” on the other side of the wall is what gives the experiment its iconic name.

Researchers in the U.S. and Europe are in various stages of conducting the experiment. The activity has been stimulated by a recent Italian experiment that claims to have discovered axion-like particles. The hope is to confirm the Legnaro National Laboratories’ results or take them a step further.

Sikivie, UF physics professor David Tanner and Karl van Bibber, a physicist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, propose a redesign of the “shining light through walls” experiment to make it, in their words, “vastly more sensitive.”

In a nutshell, they suggest placing pairs of highly reflective mirrors called Fabry-Perots cavities on both sides of the wall. The cavity on the laser light side of the wall would cause the light to bounce back and forth repeatedly, as though in an echo chamber. This action would produce many more of the hypothesized axions than a single beam of light, making them easier to detect on the other side of the wall.

“What happens is, because the light goes back and forth many times as it goes through the magnet, it produces more axions,” Sikivie said.

The Fabry-Perot cavity on the other side of the wall would perform a similar function, producing even more photons from the added axions.

Sikivie said researchers are doing separate experiments to detect axions produced by the sun, which would seem to be an easier approach because the sun is a much more powerful source than any laser. But the modified experiment would at least in theory have a higher sensitivity than these solar-based experiments.

“With these two cavities on both sides, it actually gets better, by a factor of 10 maybe, than the solar axion experiments,” he said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Florida. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Florida. "Revamped Experiment Could Detect Elusive Particle, Physicists Say." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 April 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070424180851.htm>.
University of Florida. (2007, April 26). Revamped Experiment Could Detect Elusive Particle, Physicists Say. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070424180851.htm
University of Florida. "Revamped Experiment Could Detect Elusive Particle, Physicists Say." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070424180851.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Gulfstream G500, G600 Unveiling

Gulfstream G500, G600 Unveiling

Flying (Oct. 20, 2014) — Watch Gulfstream's public launch of the G500 and G600 at their headquarters in Savannah, Ga., along with a surprise unveiling of the G500, which taxied up under its own power. Video provided by Flying
Powered by NewsLook.com
Japanese Scientists Unveil Floating 3D Projection

Japanese Scientists Unveil Floating 3D Projection

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 20, 2014) — Scientists in Tokyo have demonstrated what they say is the world's first 3D projection that floats in mid air. A laser that fires a pulse up to a thousand times a second superheats molecules in the air, creating a spark which can be guided to certain points in the air to shape what the human eye perceives as an image. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

3BL Media (Oct. 20, 2014) — Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-fuel Impala Video provided by 3BL
Powered by NewsLook.com
What We Know About Microsoft's Rumored Smartwatch

What We Know About Microsoft's Rumored Smartwatch

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) — Microsoft will reportedly release a smartwatch that works across different mobile platforms, has a two-day battery life and tracks heart rate. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins