The best place to search for dark matter can be the bowels of the Earth

Nearly two dozen underground labs around the world, lined with vats of liquid or blocks of metal and semiconductors, scientists are looking for traces of dark matter. Their experiments are getting harder and harder, and the search is all accurate, but so far no one has found direct evidence of the existence of the mysterious substance that makes up 84% of all matter in the Universe. According to a new study, we need to Mature to the root, that is even deeper.

Dark matter is different from the normal baryonic matter — matter composed of stars, galaxies, dogs, people and everything else that doesn’t interact with anything in any way except through gravity (and possibly the weak nuclear force). We don’t see it, but physicists are almost certain that it exists, and as a sculptor sculpts of the galaxy on their journey through space.

For many decades the preferred candidates for dark matter particles has been a modest hypothetical particles — “wimpy” (WIMP), or weakly interacting massive particles. Many experiments trying to find wimpy in the footsteps of their collisions with ordinary matter. In this scenario, the wimp has to touch the atomic nucleus via the weak force. Scared the core will bounce and emit energy in some form, a flash of light or a sound wave. The detection of such subtle phenomena requires sensitive instruments that are usually placed deep underground. This is mainly because the tools will be protected from cosmic rays that also can cause a reaction of the nuclei.

After a decade of searching for these weak signals, scientists have found almost nothing. And now, a team of physicists from Poland, Sweden and the US suggested a new idea. They believe that we need to look at germanium, and xenon scintillators in detectors under the earth’s crust. They believe that we need to look at the very earth’s crust. In the annals of rock, and which records are covered by the layers of history of our Solar system, we could find a fossil record of disturbed atomic nuclei frozen traces WIMPов.

“We are always looking for alternative approaches,” says Katherine Freese, a theoretical physicist from the University of Michigan and developed the ideas that formed the basis of the available detectors.

Underground paleoplacer will work similarly to the modern methods of direct detection. Instead of having to equip the laboratory with a large volume of liquid or metal for the monitoring of outbreaks WIMP in real time, you can look for fossilized traces of WIMP bumping into atomic nuclei. Some classes of minerals would record such traces.

If the kernel bounces with sufficient energy, and if perturbed atoms then find themselves deep underground (to protect the sample from cosmic rays, which can confuse the data), the trace of the rebound can be maintained. If so, then scientists can unearth the stone, take it apart by layers of time and explore the events of the past, using sophisticated methods of nonvisualization, like atomic force microscopy. The end result would be trace fossils: trace sauropods during his escape from the predator, only in terms of dark matter.

Tiny footprints

About five years ago, Friz started looking for ideas for new types of detectors together with Andrzej Crociera, a physicist from Stockholm University, who began his career with the study of dark matter detection, before to do Biophysics. One of their ideas that was developed together with biologist George Church, concerned detectors for dark matter, based on DNA and reactions of enzymes.

In 2015, Drukier went to the Russian cities of Novosibirsk, to work on a prototype of a biological detector which will be placed under the earth’s surface. In Russia he learned of the wells drilled during the cold war, some of which go for 12 miles down. No cosmic rays can’t penetrate that far. Drukier was intrigued.

The usual dark matter detectors are relatively large and very sensitive to sudden events. They conduct their search within a few years, but for the most part looking for WIMP signals in real time. Minerals, though relatively small and less sensitive to interference, can embody the search, which lasted hundreds of millions of years.

“These pieces of rocks are extracted from a very, very deep cores, almost a billion years,” says Drukier. “The deeper you go, the more they are older. No need to build the detector. The detector is already in the ground.”

But the earth has its own problems. The planet is full of radioactive uranium, which produces neutrons as they decay. These neutrons can also dislodge the core. Frieze says that the initial work of scholars describing palaeodietary, did not consider noise, which is generated by the decay of uranium, but a lot of comments from other interested scientists forced them to go back and revise the document. The team spent two months studying the thousands of minerals, to understand which of them is isolated from the decay of uranium. They argue that the best palaeodietary will consist of marine evaporites — essentially, rock salt or rock containing very little silica, which are called ultra-basic rocks. In addition, they are looking for minerals that contain a lot of hydrogen, because hydrogen effectively blocks the neutrons arising from the decay of uranium.

Searching for traces in the soil could lead us to the low-mass winam, said trace Slatyer, a theoretical physicist from mit who did not participate in the research.

“Are you looking for a kernel that seems to be no reason jumping, but must jump at a certain value, to be noticed. If the ball ping-pong table will collide with the bowling ball, you will not notice much of the last offset — if you are not able to register the smallest changes in the movement of the bowling ball”.

The most complex experiment

Work in the field will be difficult. Studies were to be conducted deep underground, where the core samples are protected from cosmic and solar radiation. And for evidence rastolchennyh cores will require modern methods of nonvisualization.

According to Slater, even if the WIMP will leave a visible scar, the main problem of paleoglacial is proof that fossil footprints are really born with a dark matter particle. Researchers have to spend a lot of time to convince myself that the interaction with the nuclei is not the job of the neutrons, neutrinos, the Sun, or something else.

“I’ll have to drop quite deep to protect themselves from cosmic rays. But this is not a lab. This is not controlled conditions. You may not know the full history of the stone deposits. Even if you find a signal it will take a lot more work to make sure that you don’t see any background.”

Drukier and Friz believe that the power of paleodictyon may be in numbers. The rock contains many minerals, each of which contains an atomic nucleus, which bounce off the marauding winow. Therefore, different elements will serve different detectors, but they will all be enclosed in a single core sample. In the future, paleoplacer could even provide a record of vinah in time, just as fossils allow paleontologists to reconstruct the history of life on Earth.

According to Slater long chronicle could offer a unique perspective on dark matter halo of the milky Way, a cloud of invisible material, through which passes the Earth when the solar system makes its movement along the orbit in 250 million years around the galactic center. Understanding the distribution of dark matter halo of the milky Way can give an idea about its physical behavior, says Slater. Perhaps it will also show whether dark matter can interact in ways that go beyond gravity.

“It is here that theory and modeling are under active development,” she says. “Can we find dark matter”, asks Drukier. “I spent thirty-five years in her quest. This is probably the most complex experiment in the world, so we might not be so lucky. But it’s cool.”

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