Dark matter happens to be one of the mysteries of the universe that are beyond the scope of Quantum Physics. Numerous studies have been conducted over the years to know about the exact nature of dark matter, though the studies remain unsuccessful in unveiling such secrets. This is partly because dark matter does not emit, reflect, or absorb light, hence it cannot be seen. However, we know that dark matter exists because of the effects that it has on the objects that can be observed directly,
Researchers at the University of Delaware, University of Arizona, and Haverford College decided to dig into this matter, before publishing their findings in a study,
“Searching for Scalar Dark Matter with Compact Mechanical Resonators”.
It occurred to Swati Singh, who is one of the authors of the study, that there are certain types of dark matter that can periodically produce a strain signal. Keeping that in mind, he managed to find a connection between this and the concept of detecting gravitational waves from pulsars.
The researchers plan on searching and learning more about dark matter using compact acoustic resonators, made of superfluid helium or single-crystal materials. Nevertheless, the focus of their research remains on ultralight dark matter. It is said to be lighter than neutrinos and so dense that it is capable of generating wavelike disturbances on normal matter.
The researchers studied a type of matter that caused a disturbance, in the form of oscillation, in the sizes of atoms. The disturbance might seem small at an atomic level; however, it enhances significantly in objects that are composed of several atoms. With this information, Dalziel Wilson, another author of the study, believes that discovering a class of mechanical objects, that have the potential to oscillate at the frequency of the ultralight dark matter, would be of immense help in their research.
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To sum it all up, the focus of the study was to highlight the potential of mechanical systems that are capable of detecting particles with an individual mass of 10^-48 kg to 10^-42 kg. according to Singh, a collaboration between quantum optics and high-energy physics communities could go a long way.
If the mechanical devices, that are currently in development, can fulfill the requirements once they are built, they could lead to further discoveries regarding dark photons. Up till now, only limited research is available on these subjects.
Jack Manley et al. Searching for Scalar Dark Matter with Compact Mechanical Resonators, Physical Review Letters (2020). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.124.151301