New Study Suggests Dark Matter May Be Made of Dark Photons

New Hints That Dark Matter Could Be Made Up of Dark Photons

2D projection of the cosmic web as obtained from a supercomputer simulation. Credit: Dr. Ewald Puchwein and the Sherwood-Relics collaboration

The hypothetical new particles could potentially account for the observations made by the Cosmic Origin Spectrograph on the Hubble Space Telescope.

According to a new study published in Physical Review Letters, it is possible that dark matter is composed of ultralight dark photons that may have played a role in heating up the universe. This hypothesis is, according to the researchers, in excellent agreement with observations from the Cosmic Origin Spectrograph (COS) aboard the Hubble Space Telescope, which observes the intricate and diffuse network of filaments known as the “cosmic web” that exists between galaxies.

The data collected by COS suggest that the cosmic intergalactic filaments are hotter than predictions from hydrodynamical simulations of the standard model of structure formation.

“Since dark photons would be able to convert into low-frequency photons and heat up the cosmic structures,” the scientists explain “they could well explain the experimental information.”

The study has been carried out by SISSA researchers in collaboration with researchers at Tel Aviv, Nottingham, and New York Universities.

“Dark photons are a good candidate for dark matter”

“Dark photons are hypothetical new particles that are the force carriers for a new force in the dark sector, much like how the photon is the force carrier for electromagnetism” the authors James S. Bolton (University of Nottingham), Andrea Caputo (CERN and Tel Aviv University), Hongwan Liu (New York University), and Matteo Viel (SISSA) explain. “Unlike the photon, however, they can have mass. In particular, the ultralight dark photon—with a mass as small as twenty orders of magnitude less than that of the electron—is a good candidate for dark matter.”

Dark photons and regular photons are also expected to mix like the different types of neutrinos, allowing ultralight dark photon dark matter to convert into low-frequency photons. These photons will heat up the cosmic web but, unlike other heating mechanisms, based on astrophysical processes, such as star formation and galactic winds, this heating process is more diffuse and efficient also in regions that are not very dense.

The missing element

Matteo Viel explains: “Usually, cosmic filaments have been used to probe small scale properties of dark matter, while in this case we have used for the first time the low redshift intergalactic medium data as a calorimeter, to check whether all the heating processes we are aware of are sufficient to reproduce the data. We found that this is not the case: there is something missing, that we model as a contribution produced by the dark photon.”

The work identified the mass and mixing of the dark photon with the Standard Model photon required to reconcile the discrepancy between observations and simulation; this effort could drive further theoretical and observational investigations in order to explore the exciting possibility that the dark photon could constitute the dark matter.

Reference: “Comparison of Low-Redshift Lyman-α Forest Observations to Hydrodynamical Simulations with Dark Photon Dark Matter” by James S. Bolton, Andrea Caputo, Hongwan Liu and Matteo Viel, 18 November 2022, Physical Review Letters.
DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.129.211102

28 Comments on "New Study Suggests Dark Matter May Be Made of Dark Photons"

  1. Howard Jeffrey Bender, Ph.D. | January 16, 2023 at 5:43 am | Reply

    Dark photons. Sigh.

    Another possibility, from a view of String Theory, is that Dark Matter appears to us 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 by searching YouTube for “Dark Matter – A String Theory Way”

  2. Fixed gravity for you. | January 16, 2023 at 6:48 am | Reply

    Photons used to be energy, not matter, but of course it’s no problem to define words however one sees fit and then use an invented context to justify it. In any case, the headline apparently twice replaces the word “Creative” with “Dark.”

    • Marín Tomuța | January 16, 2023 at 6:03 pm | Reply

      Good observation.
      Religious fascists trying to wiggle its way into Science.
      But who ever Jesus was did say that light shines in the darkness.

      • Marín Tomuța | January 16, 2023 at 6:21 pm | Reply

        So negative, dark, repulsive energy is creative?
        Amm, I think only when opposites attract is it creative but I guess repulsion is part of the process.

    • I guess that description applies pretty well to the drivel that you post. BTW, energy and matter are two states of the same thing.

  3. Dick Radcliffe | January 16, 2023 at 8:43 am | Reply

    I thought we had moved past dark matter as the handy-dandy explanation for orbital speed anomaly. You have to admit it’s a bizarre concept. My money is on the MoND-types of thinking.

    • I agree. The trend seems to be that every time we have observations that don’t fit, we invent some ultra-heavy anti dark tachyneutrino to explain it away, instead of re-examining the current theories. Theories are designed to be falsifiable, and observations that contradict predictions is how they are meant to be falsified. Yet, we try to protect the theories by resorting to the particle physics equivalents of the “god of the gaps.”

      MoND is a good direction to explore, but even that doesn’t explain all the observations. Still, I support MoND because it’s the right way to think.

      • Fixed gravity for you. | January 17, 2023 at 1:46 pm | Reply

        “it’s the right way to think”

        Or, in your case, it’s the right way to royally drivel, your royal hole-ness.

  4. What if what we call Dark Matter do not really exists & it is just a side-effect created/caused by Dark Energy?:

    Imagine that if spacetime was a superfluid & the effect of incoming Dark Energy was bubbling that superfluid!
    (Similar to the surface of a boiling soup or inside of a rising dough!)
    Then, realize, we would get a Cosmic Web made of bubbles & most galaxies would be located on the surfaces of those bubbles (withing denser spacetime superfluid!)!
    & naturally, there would be also a small percentage of galaxies which are located away from those bubble surfaces & would look like DM free galaxies to us!
    (& there would be also galaxies located in (large) bubble intersections, which would look like (unexpectedly!) having too much DM to us!)

    • Marín Tomuța | January 16, 2023 at 6:29 pm | Reply

      Or maybe it’s all indirect/coded racist white-trash talk. Sorry.
      Otherwise it likely has to do with repulsion not attraction.
      Spacetime is dependent on the gravity of the object. The object determines gravitational attraction not space. Isn’t it so?

    • Wouldn’t that require DM-free galaxies to be clustered in specific areas? Is that borne out by the observations?

  5. “Dark matter”, “dark energy”; spirit world.

    • Marín Tomuța | January 16, 2023 at 5:59 pm | Reply

      The dark implies, repulsion not attraction; I think that’s the only difference. Don’t be afraid, it’s just fascism and it’s in fashion again.

  6. Marín Tomuța | January 16, 2023 at 5:18 pm | Reply

    Makes logical literal sense. Dark things made of dark things.

  7. Marín Tomuța | January 16, 2023 at 6:08 pm | Reply

    They’re trying to define and explain what darkness of space is. I commend them for that but they’re not to explicit it seems.
    As to darkvoids aka blackholes, I think the idea from Schwartzchild was about stars because it you stare at it enough you see it turn dark.
    Can you imagine uncovering what space actually is? Then we could use that stuff or nonstuff to build engines (like jet engines) that intake and expel it. Too much imagination maybe. Rockets go way faster and there’s no intake. Ok.

  8. Has anyone done a graft showing the number of new Dark Matter hypotheses per year over say the last twenty years?
    Does this chart correlate with anything, other than the frustration of failure?

  9. Michael Llenos | January 16, 2023 at 11:34 pm | Reply

    I personally believe that when the Big Bang happened the force of the explosion was strong enough to make tears in Space-Time. Just as plants have roots that grow underground and pop up some distance from its original stalk and root system, there could be an underground (separate dimension) to the universe connected to the innards of Black Holes. This could make sense since the idea that Black Holes have inner workings that reach an infinite decending structure is ridiculous. For absolute, all, infinite, 100% in our universe are all logical puzzles. I believe our universe is based on probabilities and not absolutes.

    • I thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster (peas be unto him) that physics is not based on people’s personal beliefs.

      • Fixed gravity for you. | January 17, 2023 at 1:51 pm | Reply

        Constant light speed is the religion that best explains the incessant information-sucking drivel of royal holes.

    • Very similar to my theory except rather than the big bang creating tears in space time, i believe the big bang was the result of a massive event in the subatomic realm that caused tears in space time as accumulated energy collided creating the first signs of mass e=mc2 and as the sudden emergence of a matter rappidly appeared in a universe composed of anti-matter it caused a seperation as the energy and matter was ejected expelled into its own seperate dimension (our physical universe) thus causing the big bang to take place away from the dimension that gave birth to it. As an analogy, If we imagined corn kernels in a pan of oil as representation of energy and anti matter, and if the pan represented the subatomic dimension and the collision of this energy was representation of manifesting into popcorn which exits the pan due to the force of which it expands and in the process its propelled into a seperate space that exists outside of the pan, except that this seperation may have been far more localized as the two dimensions may exist in the form of being superimposed and overlayed over one another and operatingbin sync.

  10. … another might be!

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