Experiment with A Single Atom to Study Dark Matter

Experiment with A Single Atom to Study Dark Matter

Dark energy is the identity given to an unknown force that’s causing the universe to expand at an accelerating rate.

Some physicists suggest dark energy is a ‘fifth’ force that acts on matter, beyond the four already identified gravitational, electromagnetic, and the robust and weak nuclear forces.

However, researchers think this fifth force could also be ‘screened’ or ‘hidden’ for massive objects like planets or weights on Earth, causing it hard to identify.

Researchers and team at the University of Nottingham and Imperial College London have tested the chance that this fifth force is performing on single atoms, and found no proof for it in their most recent experiment.

This might rule out standard theories of dark energy that modify the idea of gravity and leaves fewer locations to seek the elusive fifth pressure.

The experiment, carried out at Imperial School London and analyzed by theorists on the College of Nottingham, is reported in Bodily Evaluate Letters.

The experiment examined theories of darkish power that propose the fifth drive is comparatively weaker when there’s more matter around the opposite of how gravity behaves.

This might mean it’s active in a vacuum-like space, however, is weak when there is lots of matter around. Therefore, experiments using two large weights would imply the force becomes too weak to measure.

The researchers instead examined a massive weight with an incredibly small weight a single atom the place the force should have been observed if it exists.

The researchers used an atom interferometer to test whether any extra forces could be the fifth force moving on an atom. A marble-sized sphere of metal was installed in a vacuum chamber, and atoms were released to free-fall inside the chamber.

The theory is, if there’s a fifth force acting between the sphere and atom, the atom’s path will deviate because it passes by the sphere, causing a change within the path of the falling atom. But, there is no such force found.

Professor Ed Hinds mentioned, “It is fascinating to be able to discover something in regards to the evolution of the universe using a table-top experiment in a London basement.”