A Particle Physics Experiment May Have Directly Observed Dark Energy

Dark Energy Big Bang Expansion Concept

About 25 years ago, astrophysicists noticed something very interesting about the Universe. The fact that it was in a state of expansion had been known since the 1920s, thanks to the observation of Edwin Hubble. But thanks to the observations astronomers were making with the space observatory that bore his name (the Hubble Space Telescope), they began to notice how the rate of cosmic expansion was getting faster!

This has led to the theory that the Universe is filled with an invisible and mysterious force, known as Dark Energy (DE). Decades after it was proposed, scientists are still trying to pin down this elusive force that makes up about 70% of the energy budget of the Universe. According to a recent study by an international team of researchers, the XENON1T experiment may have already detected this elusive force, opening new possibilities for future DE research.

The research was led by Dr. Sunny Vagnozzi, a researcher with the Kavli Institute for Cosmology (KICC) at the University of Cambridge, and Dr. Luca Visinelli, a Fellowship for Innovation (FELLINI) researcher (which is maintained with support from the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship) at the National Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN) in Frascati, Italy. They were joined by researchers from the Institute de Physique Theórique (IPhT), the University of Cambridge, and the University of Hawai’i.

Both DM and DE are part of the Lambda Cold Dark Matter (LCDM) model of cosmology, which posits that the Universe is filled with cold, slow-moving particles (DM) that interact with normal matter via the force of gravity alone. The Lambda represents DE, which is accelerating the expansion of the Universe. Since they are only discerned by observing their effect on the large-scale structure of the Universe, conventional thinking has it that neither force interacts with normal matter via electromagnetism or the weak or strong nuclear force.

However, some DM theories posit that there is some level of interaction with visible matter, which researchers are actively testing. However, in lieu of more test results, astrophysicists and cosmologists remain unclear about how DE fits in with the physical laws that govern the Universe. So far, candidates include a modification of Einstein’s General Relativity (GR), the presence of a new field, or a Cosmological Constant (CC). As Dr. Visinelli told Universe Today via email:

“For this reason, dark energy is possibly even more mysterious than dark matter. We see the effects of dark energy through a number of observations, starting from the seminal work on the supernovae 1A as standard candles. Assuming dark energy is indeed a field, the quanta associated with it would be extremely light and carry very little energy. This is the reason why very little work has been devoted to these types of searches.”

Their work is based on new research that looks beyond the standard LCDM model of cosmology to consider that DE interacts with light by affecting its properties (i.e., polarization, color, direction). However, these interactions could be subject to screening mechanisms that prevent local experiments from detecting them. In this model, it is predicted that dark energy quanta can be produced in the Sun.

XENON1T Detector

The XENON1T detector, shown from below. Credit: XENOX Collaboration

As Dr. Vagnozzi explained, the possible connection between screening and dark energy first came to him as he was showering one day:

“I remember it was June 20 and I was having a shower and pondering about solar axions (not) explaining XENON, and I realized the obvious way out was screening, as it would shut down production in denser stars. Screening is usually associated with models of dark energy and/or modified gravity, and there was the ‘click.‘

“I immediately Whatsapped Luca and we started working on this straight away (and contacted our other co-authors who are experts on screened dark energy/modified gravity models).”

For the sake of their study, the team led by Dr. Vagnozzi and Dr. Visinelli considered the data released by the XENON collaboration, a DM research team made up of 135 investigators from 22 institutions around the world. At the heart of their experiment is a 3,500 kg (7,715 lbs) detector of ultra radio-pure liquid xenon housed within a 10 m (32.8 ft) water tank. Located at the INFN Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso, XENON is also the most sensitive Dark Matter (DM) experiment ever performed.

In 2020, the Collaboration published the results of their experimental run (2016 to 2018), which showed an unexpected rate of electron recoil events. According to the collaboration, this did not constitute a DM detection but could be explained by a tiny residual amount of tritium in the experiment, the existence of a new particle (such as the solar axion), or an unexplained property in neutrinos.

Top PMT Array

The top PMT array with all of the electric cables. Credit: XENON Dark Matter Project

For the sake of their study, however, the team led by Vagnozzi and Visinelli theorized that it may have been the first direct detection of DE. Said Vagnozzi:

“In our model, dark energy possesses peculiar properties: its mass term is related to the density of the environment, so that the denser materials would shield the effects of dark energy, while lighter environments such as the intergalactic space would allow a long-range of the dark energy.

“In this model called “chameleon,” quanta of dark energy are produced in the region of the Sun in which the electromagnetic field is the strongest, the tachocline, which is the region in which the transport of the energy inside the Sun transitions from radiative to convective. The high energy density in electromagnetic radiation in the region allows for a strong coupling with the chameleon field and to its production.”

If true, this would mean that experiments worldwide that are currently geared towards Dark Matter research could also be dedicated to the hunt for Dark Energy. To this end, Dr. Vagnozzi and Dr. Visinelli hope that this study sparks interest in the particle models of DE and that the search for these elusive particles can be carried out in parallel with the ongoing search for DM. If nothing else, these experiments will test theories about DE that range beyond the LCDM model, helping scientists to narrow the list of candidates. Said Dr. Visinelli:

“Many other experiments designed for Dark Matter can also carry information about these chameleons, and we hope that designing future setups for these searches will be envisioned. An independent test using cosmological data crossed with the predictions from the chameleon model would also be needed. As for us, we plan to refine the computations in our paper by using a solar model, study the production of chameleons in massive stars, and get in contact with experimentalists for updates.”

Illustris Dark Matter Simulation

Illustris simulation, showing the distribution of dark matter in 350 million by 300,000 light-years. Galaxies are shown as high-density white dots (left) and normal, baryonic matter (right). Credit: Markus Haider/Illustris

In a recent paper, Dr. Vagnozzi and Dr. Visinelli conducted a study to examine whether pure elastic scattering between dark energy and baryonic (aka. normal) matter could leave a visible imprint in cosmological observations. They determined that this was not likely, at least when applied to observations that are sensitive to the linear evolution of the cosmic structure, such as the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) and the clustering of the large-scale structure at the linear level.

However, Dr. Vagnozzi is also working with a Ph.D. student in Munich to extend this study and predict the implications that DE interacting with normal matter would have. Specifically, they want to examine the effect this would have on the non-linear clustering of the large-scale structure of the Universe, as well as for the structure of galaxies and galaxy clusters. Coupled with large-scale surveys, which will benefit from next-generation telescopes in the coming years, astronomers and cosmologists could be on the verge of shining light on the “Dark Universe!”

Originally published on Universe Today.

For more on this research, read XENON1T Experiment May Have Detected Dark Energy.

Reference: “Direct detection of dark energy: The XENON1T excess and future prospects” by Sunny Vagnozzi, Luca Visinelli, Philippe Brax, Anne-Christine Davis and Jeremy Sakstein, 15 September 2021, Physical Review D.
DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevD.104.063023

18 Comments on "A Particle Physics Experiment May Have Directly Observed Dark Energy"

  1. Howard Jeffrey Bender, Ph.D. | October 29, 2021 at 10:43 am | Reply

    Another way to explain Dark Energy is suggested by String Theory. All matter and energy, including photons (light), have vibrating strings as their basis.

    String and anti-string pairs are speculated to be created in the quantum foam, a roiling energy field suggested by quantum mechanics, and they immediately annihilate each other. If light passes near these string/anti-string annihilations, perhaps some of that annihilation energy is absorbed by the string in the light. Then the Fraunhofer lines in that light will move a bit towards the blue and away from the red shift. As this continues in an expanding universe we get the same curve displayed by Perlmutter and colleagues at their Nobel Prize lecture, without the need for Dark Energy.

    This speculation has the universe behaving in a much more direct way. Specifics can be found in my YouTube, Dark Energy – a String Theory Way at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0b6t0jO7IgQ

  2. Dark matter is fake science!

    • Howard Jeffrey Bender, Ph.D. | October 29, 2021 at 1:31 pm | Reply

      But there seems to be SOMETHING invisible holding all the visible matter within the galaxies. I suggest Dark Matter is a kind of pseudo-matter from a view of String Theory, as an effect of string/anti-string annihilations. As you may know, quantum mechanics requires that strings must be formed as pairs in the quantum foam – a string and an anti-string – that immediately annihilate each other. Quantum mechanics also requires both the string and anti-string to be surrounded by “jitters” that reduce their monstrous vibrating energies. What if this jitter remains for a fraction of an instant after their string/anti-string annihilations? This temporary jitter would be seen by us as matter, via E=mc2, for that instant before it too returns to the foam. That’s why we never see it – the “mass” lasts only for that instant but is repeated over and over and over, all over. Specifics on this can be found in my YouTube, Dark Matter – A String Theory Way at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N84yISQvGCk

      • Wow, what a cool and fascinating explaination. I’m going to check out the link. I’m suddenly super interested in string theory. Have never been good with physics as a subject, but the way you explain it is really cool.

        • Howard Jeffrey Bender, Ph.D. | October 31, 2021 at 6:11 am | Reply

          Glad you find my descriptions understandable. I’ve found that a view of String Theory helps explain some very mysterious problems more directly. For a novel explanation of how everything was created, check out my YouTube, Creating Universes – A String Theory Way at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IaxfuKXdhkg&t=6s. Bring popcorn.

          • Kārlis Bērziņš | November 22, 2021 at 12:51 pm |

            String theory can not explain things like Bullet cluster and similar conditions where DM is detected clearly separated from baryonic matter. Or is there any progress to solve this problem from point of view of string theory?

  3. BibhutibhusanPatel | October 30, 2021 at 12:07 am | Reply

    Well,a type of Ďark Energy(value 0)is found out in the neutrino is a fine achivement,but simultaneously must is a proporty of visible universe;the proporty that can be taken as certain as a law So thanks to the Authors.

  4. Dark matter is not fake it’s what holds us together and gives us individuality. In my recent experiments I have filmed this energy soon to be released.

  5. 350,000,000 x 300,000 light years light years field of view illustris simulation markus haider
    in this simulation do we have a timeline for this picture
    and do we have a distance in light years for this picture
    what area of the sky matches this model

  6. If you want to see the fabric holding everything together and pushing it apart then try psychadelics. Enough mushrooms and you’ll see the time vortex weaving and folding in on itself from the comfort of the ol’ John Hopkins research lab.

  7. What if I were to tell you that that something is a being or part of a being? He is the one holding multiple universes on Him.

  8. id say you are bias to the masculine side thats what id say

  9. Alan Middleton | October 31, 2021 at 8:46 am | Reply

    Dark energy, its structure and properties, is the only reality. Totally solid but of no mass in the form of a neural network it is surrounded everywhere by zones which surge when breeding energy by Ron Pearson’s Opposed Energy Dynamics’ . Neural networks which are constantly fed with energy are known to self organise. The surging provides a constant source of mechanical vibration.

    The control of this vibration is obtained by feedback of waves travelling inside the filaments. Some harmonics or frequencies will accelerate the surging, other frequencies will reduce the frequencies. This system of semi stable patterns of vibration evolved by advantageous mutation to form the intelligence behind the universe.

    It is powerful, intelligent super computing system which, because the filaments of dark energy are totally solid but of no mass, will process and communicate information over vast distances at near infinite speed.

    Our universe is one one 21 realms of existence. It is all a designed artificial illusion system in which we cloak the core software of our minds, the size of a small brown nut with many layers of interacting and resonating frequencies, located in the heart, for a lifetime. That lifetime is no more than a vast computer generated game that we play. When we appear to die the core software shifts its frequency to the ethereal environments from which it came.

    It is the operation of this vibration powered super computer which is being misinterpreted as ‘String Theory’.

    What the picture of dark energy in the article actually shows is the organised ‘rivers’ of vibration power which supports the illusion of celestial bodies of the universe illusion.

    Our body illusion also has its own power supplied is a similar way. These are seven the Charka’s vortices of the human body. The crown charka also acts as a communication link to the environment.

    See Pearson’s 2007 book CREATION SOLVED? for details of the Opposed Energy Dynamics.

    See also two issues of Psychic news during 1917 ‘The Theory of Everything’ Written by myself as a member of the Pearson Research team.

    I am now the Science Officer for the Spiritual Science Founders Association which is carrying on the work of the Scole Experimental Group. Details of this work can be found in the book of the same name by Grant & Jane Soloman.
    The events at Scole in Norfolk England are now being made into a film.

  10. A lots of work has to be done in this field.
    Few of us using quantum theory few will depend on string theory but you cannot ignore DE or DM

  11. Sekar Vedaraman | October 31, 2021 at 6:13 pm | Reply

    Very interesting research.

    Heard about German Scientists photosynthesis without Sunlight☀️. 😁😁😁

    Connect the dots and develop theoretical models based on DE

    Extend Darwin theories about survival of the fittest to the Quantum world🙏.

    Put development of Quantum Computing on a war footing . It may help in the calculations.

    I suspect that the universe expanding at faster speeds may be a perception. And based on the assumption of linear nature of Space Time.

    Every observed phenomenon in the Gross world appears to be cyclical. Why not Time and Space?

    Views expresses are personal and not binding on anyone.

  12. Dark Matter 999 | November 1, 2021 at 1:53 am | Reply

    What if I were to tell you that this Dark Matter Energy (Feminine and Masculine) you are speaking of has already been discovered to be in beings that are considered carbonated beings your black and Latino people the (God’s and Goddesses)

  13. to explain my research as concise and short as possible I’ve found that all matter consists of three distinct vibrational levels. The first and slowest is our three dimensional reality we perceive as solid matter even though it only occupies between 10 to 14 % of reality. The variation attributed to interaction with the other vibrational bands. The highest being the quantum range that is so high we perceive it as both waveform and particle simultaneously although it is an dark energy field of ultimate potential that holds powers all of reality and accounts for 70 %. What is seen as dark matter is the effect dark energy can have on 3D voidspace much like a stone makes ripples on water. DE has no mass no polarity no set structure it is the power of absolute potential and when transducted creates and stabilises reality. That leaves the 4th and 5th metaphysical vibrational range. CONSEQUENTLY the most important for it is the bridge between 3D and quantum the means to convert potential to reality as time space and location are not part of this reality potential can be changed by focus and the right frequency and energy manipulation intent enabling the development of anything that can be thought of. but without positive intent and control it can only lead to abject destruction. Humans sadly cannot be trusted with that level of technology. So even if I can create 0 point energy the fact that it can be turned into a bomb that creates a black hole means that it and related technologies like faster than light travel will have to wait until as a species we eliminate greed from our psyche as it is a engineered mental illness inflicted on us by another species hoping for us to wipe ourselves out!!!

  14. … “May” is a strong suggestion, that will not resonate till proven…

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