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.

#darkmatter #quantum #axion #space #FocalPoint #Seeker #Science

Top Dark Matter Candidate Loses Ground to Tiniest Competitor

https://www.quantamagazine.org/why-dark-matter-might-be-axions-20191127/

Physicists have long searched for hypothesized dark matter particles called WIMPs. Now, focus may be shifting to the axion — an ultra-lightweight particle whose existence would solve two mysteries at once.

The Axion Dark Matter eXperiment

https://depts.washington.edu/admx/inthepress.shtml

ADMX is an axion haloscope, which uses a strong magnetic field to convert dark matter axions to detectable to microwave photons. The ADMX G2 experiment is one of the US Department of Energy's flagship dark matter searches, and the only one looking for axions. The experiment consists of a large magnet, a microwave cavity, and ultra-sensitive low-noise quantum electronics.

Have We Come to the End of Physics?

https://www.wsj.com/articles/have-we-come-to-the-end-of-physics-11562334798

Skeptics worry about the future of the field, but opportunities for new discoveries abound.

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