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A New Dark Matter Candidate

Posted on 11 February 2020

Dr. Mikhail Bashkanov from the University of York will be announcing: A new dark matter candidate based on an observed sub-atomic particle at the Institute of Physics, 37 Caledonian Road, London, N1 9BU.

This will be presented in association with the evening talk and exhibition at the IoP, Thursday 13/2, 18:30 - 20:00. Please register for this event here.

Despite many decades of study the physical origin of "dark matter" in the Universe remains elusive. Dr. Bashkanov and Prof. Watts from University of York have now - for the first time - identified a sub-atomic particle which under the right conditions could have formed the dark matter in the Universe during the Big Bang, explaining how the matter in the Universe became dominated by dark matter.

The origin of dark matter in the universe is a key unsolved question for science. The need for a large dark matter component to the universe is inferred from the motion of galaxies and other astronomical observations, and is estimated to make up around 4/5 of the mass of the universe! The matter is referred to as "dark" as, despite its gravitational influence,  direct observation has eluded observation by telescopes. Major efforts are underway to explain dark matter, with recent approaches including searches for weakly interacting "exotic" particles beyond the standard model of particle physics. However, to date, suitable "exotic" candidates have not revealed themselves in particle accelerators or in sensitive detectors placed deep underground. 

The nuclear physics group at the University of York, in research led by Dr Bashkanov and Prof Watts,  has opened up a new possibility for dark matter. Their new idea originates from their recent discovery of the d* hexaquark. This new six-quark particle is made from the very same light quarks which combine in trios to make up protons and neutrons. However, an important difference is that the six quarks in a d* result in a boson particle, which means they can group together in very different ways. The group has suggested that for the conditions available shortly after the Big Bang,  many d* hexaquarks could group to form d* Bose-Einstein condensates, a new dark matter candidate! The authors also outline potential routes to search for these new dark matter candidates in the cosmos.
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