A pioneering scientist from our Physics Department has collaborated with academics in Kings College London in a new study that strongly supports the search for axion dark matter.
Their study reviews how axions are produced in the early universe and how they might be visible in telescope observations.
The identity of dark matter, which makes up 85% of the matter in the universe, is one of the big unanswered questions in particle physics.
Scientists know of its existence because of its gravitational pull effects on stars and galaxies but what kind of particle it is, still remains a mystery.
Over the past decade, the axion has become one of the leading candidates for dark matter.
The researchers discussed the origin of the axions using mathematical models, showing that axion dark matter behaves more like a field covering the universe than like individual particles.
In the early universe, the value of the axion field begins to swing back and forth. The energy stored in these fluctuations is axion dark matter.
Dark matter of any kind is known to only interact very weakly with light.
Axion dark matter interacts with light very weakly, but by looking closely at telescope observations the researchers might be able to see signs of this interaction and consequently detect the axion.