Scientists Have Proposed a New Particle That Is a Portal to a 5th Dimension
|The path to dark matter and other fundamental enigmas may be through a warped extra dimension, according to a new study that proposes a new theory of the universe. by Becky Ferreira|
snip Scientists want to search for a hypothetical particle that can act as a portal to a warped fifth dimension that mediates the cosmic realms of light and dark. You would be forgiven for assuming that sentence is a science fiction synopsis, but it is actually the mind-boggling upshot of a recent study that seeks to illuminate some of the most persistent enigmas in science. The existence of this speculative particle could “provide a natural explanation” for the abundance of dark matter, an unidentified substance that accounts for most of the universe’s mass, and resolve intractable problems about subatomic particles known as fermions, according to the new research, which was published last month in The European Physical Journal C. The study adds that “the presence of new physics” can explain these fundamental mysteries by presenting a model of the universe with a fifth dimension that can be traversed by particles. The study was authored by Javier Castellano and Matthias Neubert, theoretical physicists at the PRISMA+ Cluster of Excellence at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, and Adrián Carmona, an Athenea3i fellow at the department of theoretical physics and the cosmos at the University of Granada. “We have been working on a similar topic for quite some time,” said the team in an email. “Our initial motivation was to explain the possible origin of fermion masses in theories with a warped extra dimension.” “We knew that the masses of these constituents had some special features, which were crying out for an explanation,” they said. The researchers are part of a long scientific tradition that questions whether the four dimensions that humans can comprehend—3D space and time—are really all the universe has to offer. This line of research has produced 5-dimensional field equations that express the implications an extra dimension would have on the universe, and reality itself. While researching these equations in relation to fermion masses, the team sketched out the existence of a new scalar field associated with a speculative particle that is roughly similar to the Higgs field associated with the famous Higgs boson particle. “We found that the new scalar field had an interesting, non-trivial behavior along the extra dimension,” the team explained. “Since this new particle has very similar quantum properties as the Higgs boson, it was very natural to assume that the two particles should mix with each other, meaning that their quantum-mechanical wave functions are intertwined.” “Studying this mixing was one of the original motivations of this work,” the researchers added. As they probed this hypothesis, the physicists realized that the heavy particle could offer “a unique window” into dark matter because it would be able to mediate a new force connecting dark matter and its more familiar visible counterpart, which takes the form or stars, planets, and everything else we can detect with traditional light-based astronomy.