Researchers Take Bold Aim at Finding Dark Matter


A new research is aimed at using gravitational waves from black holes to find the hypothetical particles called axions, which are what dark matter is made of. The bold study suggests that rotating black holes transmits energy to the space surrounding it, which might lead to the production of axions. This process is called superradiance.

Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics' Dr. Masha Baryakhtar said the main idea of the study is that black holes, which are very dense and compact, can be used to find new kinds of particles, IFL Science reported. One single supermassive black hole can produce a whopping 1080 axions. This is 45 times heavier than the Sun, but is still a small thing compared to the mass of supermassive black holes.

Scientists aim to find dark matter radiating off from these black holes through observing their gravitational waves, Gizmodo reported. For over 40 years, scientists have been trying to find axions. Meanwhile, dark matter makes up 80 percent of all of the universe's gravity.

Black holes are the sinkholes of the universe. Light can't escape once it enters these black holes, since it is too massive and strong. When these black holes collide, they create gravitational waves due to its powerful gravitational fields. However, Barykhtar and her team of scientists suggest that black holes aren't just traps for light, but are nucleus at the center of a certain gravitational atom.

With this idea, axions can be considered as the electrons of these giant gravitational atoms. This could mean that axions can gain and lose energy like what happens to electrons in atoms. Electrons release electromagnetic waves since they interact via electromagnetism, which means axions release gravitational waves since it interacts via gravity.

Gravitational waves could be heard humming from the axions around the black holes. These axions release gravitational waves making them visible to scientists like how electrons create spectral lines in atoms.

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