Dark matter found at MINATEC?
Categorie(s) : Events, News, Research
Published : 1 April 2014
A group of researchers at INAC studying Josephson junctions back in 2004 may have unwittingly stumbled upon axions—the hypothetical elementary particles thought to make up dark matter.
When applying a low voltage, the researchers noted a detectable electrical signal, but they were unsure of where it came from. At the time, they chalked it up to a measurement error, barely giving their “discovery” a brief mention in the article François Lefloch and his team published about their research.
But last September, theoretical physicist Christian Beck at Queen Mary University of London got in touch with Lefloch to let him know about his plans to submit an article to the journal Physical Review Letters—an article in which he announced that the mysterious signals observed in 2004 could very well have been produced by axions. Beck posits that—with a reasonable estimation of the other relevant parameters—the signals appear at a voltage consistent with his axion theory.
Beck’s article, published in November, has created quite a stir. Lefloch has been bombarded by calls from reporters and has bounced Beck’s theory off of several esteemed colleagues, all of whom found the idea plausible. So, Lefloch could very well try to reproduce his 2004 experiment.
However, dark matter is notoriously elusive, and skeptics question how likely it is that a coincidence that occurred during a simple lab experiment could reveal what much more ambitious research programs have long searched for in vain. Perhaps the only way to find out is to try again!