When it comes to dark matter, it might be time to leave WIMPS behind, as there’s a new candidate that’s been pulling ahead of its competitors in recent months: axions. Welcome to the new era of dark matter hunting.

For decades, physicists have embarked on a quest to understand what exactly dark matter—a mysterious substance that makes up most of the mass in the universe—is. They’ve searched high and low for hypothetical WIMPs, Weakly Interacting Massive Particles, but now the journey might be taking a new experimental turn toward another potential dark matter contender: axions.

Scientists have built an advanced instrument with parts from a quantum computer that’s sensitive enough to listen for the signal of a dark matter particle. The Axion Dark Matter Experiment (ADMX) at the University of Washington is the world's first dark matter experiment that's hunting specifically for axions.

So when it comes to the hunt for dark matter: Why are WIMPS looking less likely, why are axions the new leading candidate, and how do physicists plan to set out to find this new hypothetical particle that may or may not exist? Find out in this Focal Point.

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