It looks like the mysterious and elusive dark matter has just become more tangible. In the United States, for the first time, scientists managed to obtain direct evidence for the existence of dark matter particles during the CDMS experiment with underground cryogenic detectors.
According to the American physicists who conducted the experiment, there remains one step before the official confirmation of the discovery of dark matter particles – the so-called “WIMPs”.
Dark matter is an invisible substance, the presence of which can be judged only by its gravitational effects. It does not interact with electromagnetic waves, that is, it does not emit, absorb, or reflect any light.
The share of “normal” matter has 4.9% of the mass of the universe, the one of dark matter – 26.8%. Dark matter may consist of weakly interacting massive particles – “WIMPs”.
Physicists created an observatory for Cryogenic Dark Matter Search in an abandoned mine, which is located at a depth of 600 meters underground. The observatory consists of germanium detectors of a hockey puck size, cooled to a temperature close to absolute zero. The detector should record cases of elastic collisions of WIMPs with nuclei of atoms.
As a result, eight silicon detectors caught three cases of the collision of WIMPs with the nuclei of atoms. This gives the scientists a level of confidence of 99.8% that these are really new particles and not the result of fluctuations.
According to the study, the mass of WIMPs should be 8.6 GeV or about 8.5 times the mass of the proton.
It is worth mentioning that in early April, a detector AMS-02 installed on the ISS found abnormal excess of positrons in cosmic rays, which may be a trace of dark matter.
The results of the new research look convincing, so it could be that we are closer to understanding the dark matter along with other mysteries of the universe.
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