Scientists use special radios to look for the missing pieces of dark matter

A schematic of DMRadio-50L. The magnetic field (B0) we apply interacts with the dark matter axions and produces the axion-induced current (Jeff). This in turn induces a flux in the center of the toroid and then the currents (Iret) flowing in response are resonantly amplified and measured. Photo credit: DMRadio Collaboration

Scientists have long known that there is dark matter in our universe.

You’ve seen its effects on other things in space, but still don’t know what it’s actually made of.

One of the candidates that dark matter could be made of is a tiny particle called Axion.

Axions are not just any ordinary particle; You could help solve some great mysteries of physics. The DMRadio experiments are like detectives specially designed to find those elusive axions.

When axions pass through a magnetic field, they can create a very small electric field — as tiny as trying to hear a whisper in a noisy room.

To find this barely-there signal, scientists use something called a resonator, which amplifies the signal for easier detection.

Imagine you strum a guitar string and then put it on a guitar body. the sound gets louder. Similarly, these resonators amplify the electric field signal.

There are three DMRadio experiments:

  1. DMRadio-50L: Built at Stanford, this experiment uses a donut-shaped magnet to create a magnetic field. Scientists will then look for an oscillating electrical current that the axions could generate.
  2. DMRadio-m3: This device uses a different type of magnet and is being constructed at SLAC National Lab. Looking for heavier axions than DMRadio-50L.
  3. DMRadio-GUT: Still in the planning stages, this experiment aims to be super sensitive and find even more types of axions.

Each experiment uses sophisticated technologies such as superconducting shells and tunable capacitors to increase the likelihood of detecting axions.

Put simply, a magnetic field is applied, and when axions are nearby, they create a tiny current.

This current is recorded by special sensors that the laboratory makes. Because axions are so light – more than 20 trillion times lighter than an electron – even a tiny signal would be a big deal.

Whether they find axions or not, these experiments will teach us more about our universe. They can also help test new types of technology.

So, as scientists continue their detective work on dark matter, they will be on the lookout for clues in places no one has looked before.

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Laura Coffey

Laura Coffey is a Worldtimetodays U.S. News Reporter based in Canada. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Laura Coffey joined Worldtimetodays in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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