The Higgs boson: the portal in the “dark world”?

Now, when scientists found the Higgs boson, the Large hadron Collider will search for an even more elusive goal: dark matter. We are surrounded by dark matter and dark energy, invisible substance that connects the galaxy, but does not give. In the new work is described an innovative method to search for dark matter forces the Large hadron Collider by exploiting a relatively slow speed potential of the particle.

The dark world of dark matter

“We know that there is a dark world and it has more energy than ours,” says Lian-Tao Wang, Professor of physics, University of Chicago, explores the search for signals in large particle accelerators like the LHC. The work was published in Physical Review Letters.

Although the dark world is more than 95% of the Universe, scientists know about its existence only by the effects which it has — like a poltergeist, which can be seen only if something moves on the shelf or when light blinks. For example, we know of the existence of dark matter because we see its gravitational effects — it helps our galaxies do not fly apart.

Theorists believe that there is one particular form of dark particles, which may occasionally interact with ordinary matter. It will be heavier and there will be longer than other known particles up to one tenth of a second. According to scientists, a few times a decade, such a particle can get caught in the collision of protons at the LHC, which occur and are measured continuously.

“One particularly interesting possibility is that these long-lived dark particles are somehow associated with the Higgs boson — the Higgs actually is a portal to the dark world,” says Wong, referring to the last particle discovered by physicists in the great theory of the Universe. The Higgs boson was discovered at LHC in 2012. “Maybe the Higgs can indeed decay into these long-lived particles”.

The only problem is to separate these events from the others; in a 27-kilometer LHC occurs more than a billion collisions per second, and each of them sends subatomic spray in all directions.

Scientists have proposed a new search method that uses one particular aspect of such dark particles. “If it is so heavy, its production requires energy, so the pulse will not be large — it will move slower than the speed of light,” says Jia Liu, first author of the study.

This temporary delay will distinguish it from other particles. Scientists need only to tweak the system to search for the produced particles. The difference is in the range of nanoseconds — one billionth of a second or less. But the TANK already has a fairly sophisticated detectors to detect this difference, a recent study using data collected during the recent launch of the Collider, has shown that this method should work, plus detectors will become even more sensitive after the upcoming modernization.

“We expect that this method will increase our sensitivity to long-lived dark matter is several orders of magnitude — thus using the opportunities that already exist at the TANK,” says Liu. Experimenters are already working on the creation of traps. When the TANK is again in 2021, after the increase of the luminosity by 10 times, all of the three major detector will be equipped with the new system.

“We think there is great potential for discovery. If the particle is, we will have a way to extract”.