DALI Experiment: An Astro-Particle Telescope for Dark Matter

Filaments and Superclusters of Galaxies

The boxes show how filaments and superclusters of galaxies grow over time, from billions of years after the Big Bang to current structures. Credit: Modification of work by CXC/MPE/V. Springel

The detection of the axion would mark a key episode in the history of science. This hypothetical particle could resolve two fundamental problems of Modern Physics at the same time: the problem of Charge and Parity in the strong interaction, and the mystery of dark matter. However, in spite of the high scientific interest in finding it, the search at high radio frequency -above 6 GHz- has been almost left aside for the lack of the high sensitivity technology which could be built at reasonable cost. Until now.

The Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) will participate in an international collaboration to develop the DALI (Dark-photons & Axion-Like particles Interferometer) experiment, an astro-particle telescope for dark matter whose scientific objective is the search for axions and paraphotons in the 6 to 60 GHz band. The prototype, proof of concept, is currently in the design and fabrication phase at the IAC. The white-paper describing the experiment has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics (JCAP).

Predicted by theory in the 1970’s, the axion is a hypothetical low mass particle that interacts weakly with standard particles such as nucleons and electrons, as well as with photons. These proposed interactions are studied to try to detect the axion with different types of instruments. One promising technique is to study the interaction of axions with standard photons.

“Axions ‘mix’ with photons under the action of a strong external magnetic field, such as those produced by the superconducting magnets in particle detectors or those used for medical diagnostics by magnetic resonance, and produce a weak radio or microwave signal. This signal has been looked for in a variety of experiments since the end of the 80’s, and it is just the signal that we want to detect now with DALI, although in a new almost unexplored range of parameters, which will be accessible for the first time thanks to this experiment,” explains Javier De Miguel, an IAC researcher and the first author of the study.

The first axion detectors, made in the 80’s and 90’s, used a resonant cavity which, inside a super-magnet, amplified the weak microwave signal predicted from the axion, trying to bring it into a power range detectable by scientific instruments. Unfortunately, the size of the cavity is inversely proportional to the scanning frequency and, for the axion, the cavies were too small to be made for frequencies greater than some 6 GHz.

For this reason, the new experiment brings together the most promising techniques for scanning at high frequencies, and includes it in a practical design to which is also added the capacity of astro-particle detectors for axionic dark matter. In this way, DALI comprises a powerful superconducting magnet, an axion detector with a novel resonator to make the weak signal caused by the axions detectable, and an altazimuth mount to allow it to scan objects and regions in the sky looking for dark matter.

This way, DALI could help in the detection of the axion, a pseudo-scalar particle whose nature is similar to that of the Higgs boson, discovered in 2012 at CERN, and a promising candidate for dark matter. Dark matter is a fundamental constituent of the Universe which interacts very weakly with ordinary matter, and so is very difficult to detect directly, but whose discovery would allow us to explain the rotation curves of the spiral galaxies, and why the formation of structure in the Universe has developed in the way it has until now, among other mysteries.

Reference: “A dark matter telescope probing the 6 to 60 GHz band” by Javier De Miguel, 28 April 2021, Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics.
DOI: 10.1088/1475-7516/2021/04/075

3 Comments on "DALI Experiment: An Astro-Particle Telescope for Dark Matter"

  1. Babu G. Ranganathan | May 3, 2021 at 6:16 am | Reply

    Babu G. Ranganathan*
    (B.A. Bible/Biology)

    JUST BECAUSE SCIENCE CAN EXPLAIN how an airplane works doesn’t mean that no one designed or made the airplane. And just because science can explain how life or the universe works doesn’t mean there was no Designer and Maker behind them.

    Natural laws may explain how the order in the universe works and operates, but mere undirected natural laws cannot explain the origin of that order. Once you have a complete and living cell then the genetic code and biological machinery exist to direct the formation of more cells from raw materials such as amino acids and other chemicals, but how could life or the cell have naturally originated when no directing code and mechanisms existed in nature? Read my Internet article: HOW FORENSIC SCIENCE REFUTES ATHEISM.

    WHAT IS SCIENCE? Science simply is knowledge based on observation. No human observed the universe coming by chance or by design, by creation or by evolution. These are positions of faith. The issue is which faith the scientific evidence best supports.

    SCIENCE SHOWS THAT THE UNIVERSE CANNOT BE ETERNAL because it could not have sustained itself eternally due to the law of entropy (increasing and irreversible net energy decay, even in an open system). Even a hypothetical oscillating universe could not continue to oscillate eternally! Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity shows that space, matter, and time all are physical and all had a beginning. Space even produces particles because it’s actually something, not nothing. What about the Higgs boson (the so-called “God Particle”)? The Higgs boson, even if it existed, would not have created mass from nothing, but rather it would have converted energy into mass. Einstein showed that all matter is some form of energy. Even time had a beginning! Time is not eternal.

    The law of entropy doesn’t allow the universe to be eternal. If the universe were eternal, everything, including time (which modern science has shown is as physical as mass and space), would have become totally entropied by now and the entire universe would have ended in a uniform heat death a long, long time ago. The fact that this hasn’t happened already is powerful evidence for a beginning to the universe.

    Popular atheistic scientist Stephen Hawking admits that the universe had a beginning and came from nothing but he believes that nothing became something by a natural process yet to be discovered. That’s not rational thinking at all, and it also would be making the effect greater than its cause to say that nothing created something. The beginning had to be of supernatural origin because science teaches us from the First Law of Thermodynamics that natural laws and processes do not have the ability to bring something into existence from nothing.

    The supernatural origin of the universe cannot be proved by science but science points to a supernatural intelligence and power for the origin and order of the universe. Where did God come from? Obviously, unlike the universe, God’s nature doesn’t require a beginning.

    The disorder in the universe can be explained because of chance and random processes, but the order can be explained only because of intelligence and design.

    Gravity may explain how the order found in the precise and orderly courses of thousands of billions of stars is maintained, but gravity cannot explain the origin of that order.

    Some evolutionary astronomers believe that trillions of stars crashed into each other leaving surviving stars to find precise orderly orbits in space. Not only is this irrational, but if there was such a mass collision of stars then there would be a super mass residue of gas clouds in space to support this hypothesis. The present level of residue of gas clouds in space doesn’t support the magnitude of star deaths required for such a hypothesis. And, as already stated, the origin of stars cannot be explained by the Big Bang because of the reasons mentioned above. It’s one thing to say that stars may decay and die into random gas clouds, but it is totally different to say that gas clouds form into stars.

    Even the father of Chaos theory admitted that the “mechanisms” existing in the non-living world allow for only very rudimentary levels of order to arise spontaneously (by chance), but not the kind or level of order we find in the structures of DNA, RNA, and proteins. Yes, individual amino acids have been shown to come into existence by chance but not protein molecules which require that the various amino acids be in a precise sequence just like the letters found in a sentence.

    Some things don’t need experiment or scientific proof. In law there is a dictum called prima facie evidence. It means “evidence that speaks for itself.”

    An example of a true prima facie would be if you discovered an elaborate sand castle on the beach. You don’t have to experiment to know that it came by design and not by the chance forces of wind and water.

    If you discovered a romantic letter or message written in the sand, you don’t have to experiment to know that it was by design and not because a stick randomly carried by wind put it there. You naturally assume that an intelligent and rational being was responsible.

    It’s interesting that Carl Sagan would have acknowledged sequential radio signals in space as evidence of intelligent life sending them, but he wouldn’t acknowledge the sequential structure of molecules in DNA (the genetic code) as evidence of an intelligent Cause. Read my popular Internet article, HOW DID MY DNA MAKE ME.

    I encourage all to read my popular Internet articles:


    Visit my latest Internet site: THE SCIENCE SUPPORTING CREATION (This site answers many arguments, both old and new, that have been used by evolutionists to support their theory)


    *I have given successful lectures (with question and answer period afterwards) defending creation before evolutionist science faculty and students at various colleges and universities. I’ve been privileged to be recognized in the 24th edition of Marquis “Who’s Who in The East” for my writings on religion and science.

    • Torbjörn Larsson | May 3, 2021 at 8:04 am | Reply

      A comment filled with irrelevant superstition, promoting obvious pseudoscience related to that and misunderstanding science by way of rejected creationist strawmen.

      If anything, the current cosmology is able to describe the entire universe – which is all there is [ https://www.space.com/whats-beyond-universe-edge ] – as an entirely natural system and leaving no place for the suggested creationist magic.

      “In fact, asking “What’s outside the universe?” is like asking “What sound does the color purple make?””

      And the same goes for claiming magic, it’s like claiming colors makes sounds.

  2. … the telescope for an artefact or a fact of matter of facts……

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