In a new study, scientists say that a particle that links to a fifth dimension can explain dark matter. (The previous article has been updated.) The “warped extra dimension” (WED) is a trademark of a popular physics model that was first introduced in 1999. This research, which was published in The European Physical Journal C, is the first to use the theory to explain the long-standing dark matter problem in particle physics.
The idea of dark matter, which makes up most of the matter in the universe, is the basis for what we know about how the universe works. Dark matter is like a pinch-hitter that helps scientists figure out how gravity works. Without a “x factor” of dark matter, many things would dissolve or fall apart. Even so, dark matter doesn’t change the particles we can see and “feel,” so it must have other special qualities as well.
“[T]here are still some questions which do not have an answer within the [standard model of physics],” the scientists, from Spain and Germany, explain in their study. “One of the most significant examples is the so-called hierarchy problem, the question why the Higgs boson is much lighter than the characteristic scale of gravity. [The standard model of physics] cannot accommodate some other observed phenomena. One of the most striking examples is the existence of dark matter.” A WED model is being used in the new study to try to figure out why there is dark matter. Scientists looked at fermion masses, which they think could be sent through portals into the fifth dimension to make dark matter relics and “fermionic dark matter.” Could dimension-traveling fermions explain at least some of the dark matter scientists have so far not been able to observe? “We know that there is no viable [dark matter] candidate in the [standard model of physics],” the scientists say, “so already this fact asks for the presence of new physics.”
Basically, a key piece of math makes bulk masses of fermions, which show up in the so-called “warped space” of the fifth dimension. This pocket “dark sector” is one possible explanation for the huge amount of dark matter that hasn’t been found yet with any of the standard model of physics measurements. Fermions that get stuck in a portal to a twisted fifth dimension could be “acting as” dark matter.
How would we be able to see this type of dark matter to prove it? This is the biggest problem with many theories of dark matter right now. But all that would be needed to find fermionic dark matter in a twisted fifth dimension is the right kind of gravitational wave detector, which are becoming more common all over the world. In fact, the answer to the mystery of dark matter might be right around the corner.