The gravitational wave detectors capable of detecting much more than gravitational waves. According to a new study, they can also potentially detect dark matter, if dark matter consists of specific particles — “dark photon”. In the future, scientists expect LIGO to search for dark photons, which will include some previously unexplored region of parameters for dark photons.
A group of physicists in the person of Aaron Pierce, Kate Rils and Yue Zhao of the University of Michigan announced his proposal to use gravitational wave detectors to search for dark matter in a recent article published in Physical Review Letters.
In the search for dark photons
“This proposal fits perfectly into the newborn area of gravitational wave astronomy and particle physics,” says Zhao. “Without any modifications of the gravitational wave detector can be used as a very sensitive directional detector of dark matter with the discovery potential for dark matter at the five Sigma”.
How to explain physics in their work, if the dark photons have a very light mass, their behavior can be regarded as oscillating in a background field with a frequency of oscillation determined by their mass. Gravitational-wave detectors can potentially detect these vibrations, because the vibrations can affect test objects in gravitational wave detectors. For example, if two test objects situated in different locations in the detector that have different offsets, this difference may be attributable to the relative phase of the oscillations of a dark field photon in these different positions.
Physicists expect that as ground-based gravitational wave detectors such as LIGO and future space gravitational-wave detectors such as LISA will be able to search for dark photons dark matter. The use of more than one detector will allow cross-checking and to improve sensitivity.
In the future, the researchers plan to work on further development of the method to search for dark matter and determine exactly what signal needs to Observatory of gravitational waves, if there is a dark photon.
“We plan to bring this work beyond the theoretical proposals,” says Zhao. “First, we plan to analyze the data using a simplified signal model and a simple search algorithm. Then we gradually Refine our search method and include such signal modeling and detector response”.