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Axions Could Be the Fossil of the Universe Astrophysicists Have Been Waiting For

Big Bang Concept

Discovering the hypothetical particle axion might imply discovering out for the first time what occurred in the Universe a second after the Large Bang, suggests a brand new examine printed in Bodily Overview D.

How far again into the Universe’s previous can we glance at present? In the electromagnetic spectrum, observations of the Cosmic Microwave Background — generally known as the CMB — enable us to see again nearly 14 billion years to when the Universe cooled sufficiently for protons and electrons to mix and type impartial hydrogen. The CMB has taught us an inordinate quantity about the evolution of the cosmos, however photons in the CMB had been launched 400,000 years after the Large Bang making it extraordinarily difficult to study the historical past of the universe previous to this epoch.

To open a brand new window, a trio of theoretical researchers, together with Kavli Institute for the Physics and Arithmetic of the Universe (Kavli IPMU) Principal Investigator, College of California, Berkeley, MacAdams Professor of Physics and Lawrence Berkeley Nationwide Laboratory senior school scientist Hitoshi Murayama, Lawrence Berkeley Nationwide Laboratory physics researcher and College of California, Berkeley, postdoctoral fellow Jeff Dror (now at College of California, Santa Cruz), and UC Berkeley Miller Analysis Fellow Nicholas Rodd, regarded past photons, and into the realm of hypothetical particles generally known as axions, which can have been emitted in the first second of the Universe’s historical past.

Of their paper, they recommend the risk of trying to find an axion analog of the CMB, a so-called Cosmic axion Background or CaB.

Whereas hypothetical, there are a lot of causes to suspect that the axion might exist in our Universe.

For one, axions are a generic prediction of string concept, one of at present’s greatest hopes for a concept of quantum gravity. The existence of an axion might additional assist resolve the lengthy standing puzzle of why we now have but to measure an electrical dipole second for the neutron, a difficulty extra formally generally known as the “Sturdy CP Downside.” Extra not too long ago, the axion has turn out to be a promising candidate for darkish matter, and as a consequence researchers are quickly trying to find axion dark-matter.

Of their paper, the researchers level out that as experimentalists develop extra delicate devices to seek for darkish matter, they could bump into one other signal of axions in the type of the CaB. However as a result of the CaB shares comparable properties with dark-matter axions, there’s a danger the experiments would throw the CaB sign out as noise.

The variation in the type of the CaB as a perform of power and density may be seen for 4 completely different eventualities for its manufacturing. Discovering anyone of these would assist reply the basic questions listed. Credit score: Dror et al.

Discovering the CaB at one of these devices could be a double discovery. Not solely would it not verify the existence of the axion, however researchers worldwide would instantly have a brand new fossil from the early Universe. Relying on how the CaB was produced, researchers might study numerous completely different elements of the Universe’s evolution by no means attainable earlier than (Determine).

“What we now have proposed is that, by altering the approach present experiments analyze knowledge, we might be able to seek for left-over axions from the early universe. Then, we’d be capable of study the origin of darkish matter, part transition or inflation at the starting of the Universe. There are already experimental teams who’ve proven curiosity in our proposal, and I hope we are able to discover out one thing new about the early Universe that wasn’t recognized earlier than,” says Murayama.

“The evolution of the universe can produce axions with a attribute power distribution. By detecting the power density of the universe at present made up of axions, experiments comparable to MADMAX, HAYSTAC, ADMX, and DMRadio might give us solutions to some of the most vital puzzles in cosmology, comparable to, ‘How sizzling did our universe get?’, ‘What’s nature of darkish matter?’, ‘Did our universe endure a interval of speedy growth generally known as inflation?’, and ‘Was there ever a cosmic part transition?’,” says Dror.

The brand new examine gives motive to be enthusiastic about the axion dark-matter program. Even when darkish matter shouldn’t be made of axions, these devices could present a picture of the Universe when it was lower than a second previous.

This examine was accepted as an “Editors’ Suggestion” in the journal Bodily Overview D.

Reference: “Cosmic axion background” by Jeff A. Dror, Hitoshi Murayama and Nicholas L. Rodd, 7 June 2021, Bodily Overview D.
DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevD.103.115004

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