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Dark matter is a hypothetical form of matter that would make up about 27% of the total energy density of the observable Universe, according to cosmological models. Its existence could explain in particular the formation of certain large structures, such as galaxy clusters, but also the immense voids of the Universe. Researchers at the University of Oslo now propose a new model that explains the current density of dark matter: according to them, ordinary matter would have become dark matter at the beginning of the Universe.
Dark matter is still very mysterious and cosmologists don’t really know what it is made of. However, they manage to estimate the amount of dark matter in our universe from observations of the diffuse cosmic background. Therefore, for theories of dark matter formation to be viable, they must be able to reproduce this density. Most of the explanations offered make use of so-called “freeze” or “freeze” models.
Freezing models assume that a large amount of dark matter was initially in equilibrium with the plasma of Standard Model particles in the early Universe. Then, as the Universe expanded and cooled, the processes that destroyed the dark matter particles outpaced the formation processes, until the density of the dark matter dropped to its current level. In contrast, in freezing models, the Universe would have started out with little or no dark matter, and the particle plasma of the Standard Model would have produced more, up to its current density. Torsten Bringmann and his team offer another possible explanation.
When ordinary matter turns to the dark side
These Norwegian researchers suggest that a small initial amount of dark matter in the early Universe would have interacted with the Standard Model particles (which make up ordinary matter) so that these particles become dark matter particles. By thus shifting the Standard Model particles to the dark side, and then allowing them to do the same with other Standard Model particles, the dark matter could have propagated much faster than in the immobilization models and grown exponentially in this dense early environment. of the universe.
In fact, this new study is based on previous proposals assuming the existence of a “thermal bath”, in which ordinary matter, in the form of plasma, would have produced the first dark matter particles, initial particles that could have had the capacity transform other particles from the thermal bath into darker matter. “This leads to exponential growth in the digital density of dark matter, in close analogy to other exponential growth processes familiar in nature,” the study authors write.
This process of dark matter formation would have naturally slowed down as the Universe expanded, then eventually stopped reaching the density of dark matter that we observe today. According to the researchers, this theory could have consequences on the power spectrum of the cosmic fuzzy background and on other current properties of the Universe, which means that future observations could confirm or disprove this potential mechanism. Meanwhile, comply with the observations.
A production chain slowed down by expansion
Dark matter is difficult to detect because it passes through ordinary matter without reacting with it, neither by strong interaction nor by electromagnetic interaction; however, it can be detected by its gravitational effects. The behavior of the Universe (in particular, the speed at which galaxies rotate) and the study of the electromagnetic radiation that constitutes the cosmic diffuse background, confirm that dark matter exists and that it exists in very large quantities.
In the freezing model, as the Universe expanded, the generation of dark matter would have gradually decreased, until it ceased completely, fixing a certain amount forever. Likewise, in the freezing model, the cooling of the expanding Universe stopped the production of dark matter, but also its ability to rapidly annihilate itself, determining a certain final quantity. The theory proposed by Bringmann and his colleagues ultimately falls more or less between these two extremes. “We show that this mechanism complements the” freeze “and” freeze “thermal production scenarios in a generic way. Therefore, a deeper and more detailed exploration of this new way of producing dark matter from the thermal bath seems very justified, ”the researchers write.
If your approach is correct, it would mean that the amount of dark matter increased very rapidly with the expansion of the Universe, and then that growth slowed down and finally ceased when the expansion of the Universe slowed down. As ordinary matter and dark matter become increasingly distant from each other over time, this dark matter production chain would eventually run out.
According to the researchers, the proof of the correctness of this theory should be somewhere in the cosmic fuzzy background, now it is a question of finding it. Currently, scientists have extremely sensitive dark matter detectors (such as the XENON1T, based at the Gran Sasso National Laboratory in Italy). Therefore, the hypothesis must be verified quickly.
Physical Review Letters, T. Bringmann et al.
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