An “impossible” discovery of “twisted light” could rewrite the laws of physics
Dark energy is the name given to the strange force that causes the universe to speed up rather than slow down over time. Dark matter is particles that do not absorb, reflect, or emit light, making them undetectable. They make up 85 percent of the matter in the universe and a quarter of its mass.
The new findings from the Institute for Particle and Nuclear Studies (IPNS) at the University of Tokyo and the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics (MPA) examine the background microwave radiation in the universe after the Big Bang and its symmetry.
It is believed that the current laws of physics work the same way in one system as in another system in which all spatial coordinates are reversed. This symmetry is known as “parity”
However, if it is possible to violate this symmetry, more information about the mysterious dark matter and dark energy in the universe could be found.
A possible injury was identified with this background radiation. The light from the Big Bang became “polarized” when it was scattered by electrons 400,000 years after the first explosion.
This is similar to the polarization of unpolarized sunlight when it is scattered by water droplets in the atmosphere and forms a rainbow.
As light traveled through the universe, it interacted with dark matter and energy and could have caused the plane of polarization to rotate.
“If dark matter or dark energy interacts with the light from the cosmic microwave background in a way that violates parity symmetry, we can find its signature in the polarization data,” said Yuto Minami, postdoctoral fellow at IPNS.
Scientists used polarization-sensitive detectors on board the Planck satellite to measure the angle of rotation, knowing how the polarization-sensitive detectors are oriented relative to the sky.
This has been historically challenging; Uncertainties about the rotation caused by the detectors themselves have discarded previous measurements of the cosmic polarization angle.
The scientists found that the distance that light travels from dust within the Milky Way is shorter than that of ancient light, which means that it is not affected by dark matter or energy.
“We have developed a new method to determine the artificial rotation using the polarized light that dust emits in our Milky Way,” said Minami.
“With this method we have achieved a precision that is twice as high as in the previous work, and we can finally measure [the rotation angle]”.
Unfortunately, the violation of parity symmetry was only detected with a confidence level of 99.2 percent. For a new discovery to be valid, it must have a confidence level of 99.99995 percent.
“It is clear that we have not yet found any definitive evidence for new physics. A higher statistical significance is required to confirm this signal. We are excited, however, because our new method has finally made it possible for us to carry out this “impossible” measurement that could indicate a new physics, ”said Eiichiro Komatsu, Director at MPA and Principal Researcher at IPMU. The research was published in Physical Examination Letters on November 23.
Scientists have suggested that dark energy could be a cosmic “quintessence” – a substance in itself and not a constant of space as previously believed.
“I think we’ll probably want to go through all of this very carefully before we get too excited,” said theoretical physicist Marc Kamionkowsk, who explored the quintessence in 1998 nature.
Should this turn out to be true, it would completely change man’s understanding of the laws of physics, which does not predict any quintessence. It could also change the recorded age of the universe, which is calculated based on the data collected by the Planck Institute. However, research on this is not currently strong enough to be accepted.