Gravitational wave detectors to search for dark matter

August 16, 2018 by Lisa Zyga, Phys.org feature
Sky with stars. Credit: Felix Mittermeier, Pexels.com

Gravitational wave detectors might be able to detect much more than gravitational waves. According to a new study, they could also potentially detect dark matter, if dark matter is composed of a particular kind of particle called a "dark photon." In the future, LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory) scientists plan to implement a search for dark photons, which will include certain previously unexplored regions of the dark photon parameter space.

A team of physicists, Aaron Pierce, Keith Riles, and Yue Zhao from the University of Michigan, have reported their proposal for using gravitational wave detectors to search for dark matter in a recent paper published in Physical Review Letters.

"This proposal nicely bridges the newly born field of gravitational wave astronomy with that of particle physics," Zhao told Phys.org. "Without any modifications, a can be used as a very sensitive direct dark matter , with the potential for a five-sigma discovery of dark matter."

As the physicists explain in their paper, if dark photons have a very light mass, then they can be considered to behave like an oscillating background field, with the oscillation frequency determined by their mass. Gravitational wave detectors could potentially detect these oscillations because the oscillations may affect test objects placed in the gravitational wave detectors. For example, if two test objects located at different positions in the detector experience different displacements, this difference may be due to the relative phase of the field's oscillations at these different positions.

The physicists expect that both present Earth-based gravitational wave detectors such as LIGO, as well as future space-based gravitational wave detectors such as LISA (Laser Interferometer Space Antenna), will have the ability to search for dark dark matter. Using more than one detector would allow for cross-checking and better sensitivity.

In the future, the scientists plan to work on further developing the new search method and determining exactly what kind of signal a gravitational wave detector would receive if a dark photon were nearby.

"We plan to push this work well beyond a theoretical proposal," Zhao said. "First, we plan to carry out the data analysis using a simplified signal model and a straightforward search algorithm. Then we will gradually refine our search method and include a detailed simulation of the signal and detector response."

Explore further: Gravitational wave detectors could shed light on dark matter

More information: Aaron Pierce, Keith Riles, and Yue Zhao. "Searching for Dark Photon Dark Matter with Gravitational Wave Detectors." Physical Review Letters. DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.121.061102
Also at arXiv:1801.10161 [hep-ph]

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18 comments

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fthompson495
1 / 5 (12) Aug 16, 2018
There is evidence of the supersolid dark matter every time a double-slit experiment is performed, as it is the supersolid dark matter that waves.

Supersolid dark matter ripples when galaxy clusters collide and waves in a double-slit experiment, relating general relativity and quantum mechanics.
evropej
2.5 / 5 (11) Aug 16, 2018
I wonder if the same resources were dedicated to finding out why we are not able to account for all the matter in our galaxies instead of creating new particles would make a difference in our understanding? Are we that certain in our mass calculations that we need to derive new types of matter to describe what we are seeing?

Also, for the record, the name dark matter is possibly the most missleading name in the history of science. Look at what global warming did to the increased entropy in weather systems?

Long story short, I think we are becoming desperate and barking up the wrong tree trying to find answers!
Captain Stumpy
3.8 / 5 (16) Aug 16, 2018
@evropej
I wonder if the same resources were dedicated to finding out why we are not able to account for all the matter in our galaxies instead of creating new particles would make a difference in our understanding?
fundamental research underpins everything we know

if "creating new particles" were to stop, it may well undermine our knowledge of potential matches to DM or other phenomena that (again) may well be explained by the fundamental research

it's why LIGO and CERN are so important to the search for answers
Long story short, I think we are becoming desperate and barking up the wrong tree trying to find answers!
based on what evidence?
evropej
3 / 5 (9) Aug 16, 2018
Based on the fact that the very definition says we have no idea what it is. Neal D Tyson called in Ted I think and made the same statement in one his lectures as I have. In fact you can call it anything you like and every other name would be better. Its a black box concept and anything can be inside. Same applies for the unexplained acceleration of the universe.

This is why I wonder if this theory would stand a more rigorous study of our understanding of inter stellar masses and velocities. I mean, we cant even say how much matter is in our own backyard, let alone across the universe.
Captain Stumpy
3.6 / 5 (14) Aug 16, 2018
@evropej
Based on the fact that the very definition says we have no idea what it is
having no idea what it is doesn't mean we have no idea what it does, and Dr. Tyson has stated that we see observed effects of gravitational interaction
as such, why not use gravity wave detectors to help narrow the scope? as stated in the article above, the search is for
a particular kind of particle called a "dark photon."
as such, using LIGO and the prediction they have a target to either eliminate or validate with a detection, stated here:
assuming the dark photon is the gauge boson of U(1)B or U(1)B−L. We show that both ground-based and future space-based gravitational wave detectors have the capability to make a 5σ discovery in unexplored parameter regimes
I do agree the name is perhaps misleading, but what else would you call it given that the placeholder is just a temporary moniker until knowledge prevails upon us to create a sensible label
Captain Stumpy
3.6 / 5 (14) Aug 16, 2018
@evropej
This is why I wonder if this theory would stand a more rigorous study of our understanding of inter stellar masses and velocities. I mean, we cant even say how much matter is in our own backyard, let alone across the universe
this is a nonsensical argument, IMHO

it's like saying that we can't know about the brain because we don't know what every neuron is dedicated to doing

we can't say what every neuron in the brain is dedicated to, but we're pretty sure about certain areas and what their function is, and we're building upon that knowledge

.

what is confusing most about your post is that you work with models and claim to be a scientist, so why would you be against testing in an existing detector to see if it matches SM and Theory?
Old_C_Code
2.4 / 5 (17) Aug 16, 2018
Stumpy You'r an arrogant buffoon, dark matter has not be discovered. I don't give a chit if it has 100 nobel prizes by it's name.
Captain Stumpy
3.9 / 5 (11) Aug 16, 2018
@old cnut
You'r an arrogant buffoon
projection from a pseudoscience scholar of questionable literacy and an inability to spell - is it quarter shooters at the club tonight?
dark matter has not be discovered
and now you've proven, again, that you're illiterate

where, pray tell, did I state it had been discovered?
ah right! I didn't. you're just not able to read
I don't give a chit if it has 100 nobel prizes by it's name
you're ranting about a comment that wasn't made and then you state you don't care how many nobel prizes it has?

you do realise that delusions and hallucinations don't get nobel prizes, right?
gculpex
3.3 / 5 (7) Aug 17, 2018
you do realize that delusions and hallucinations don't get Nobel prizes, right?

Trumpt is trying for it.
RealityCheck
3 / 5 (8) Aug 17, 2018
The problem is that the sensitivity also detects Muonic and Neutrino mass effects caused by the fronts of high-energy gammarays, high-energy neutrinos and high-energy cosmic rays (emanating from such cataclysmic BHs and NSs merging events) impacting Earth's atmosphere and sending waves of Muons to pass through the LiGOs. And if the LIGO is space-based, then the problem is just as bad because then all that high-energy stuff is going to impact LIGO test masses directly, and not just the laser-space-path between test masses. Increased sensitivity is futile if all that stuff is affecting it more than puny effects of their hypothetical "dark photon oscillating background field".

And anyway, if DM is allegedly everywhere as a background ALREADY, then the effect of same is ALREADY PART of observed/measured parameters of test mass/motion etc in all existing QM experiments at that level of sensitivity.

They have to acknowledge all that, and then 'revisit' their assumptions.
granville583762
4.2 / 5 (5) Aug 19, 2018
Gravitational wave detectors to detect darkphotons in the darkphotons vacuum
Gravitational wave detectors detect darkmatter being composed of particles of darkphotons where LIGO search's for darkphotons in darkphotons region of the vacuum.
What is this newly theorised gravitational particle darkphotons; is this conformation the traditional lightphotons that sustains earthly life emanating from the trillion upon trillion stars residing in the trillions of galaxies in the vacuum where to date not one hair of these darkphotons has been seen bristling from the only photons in the vacuum, lightphotons.
Darkphotons have a very light mass that can be considered to behave like an oscillating background field, with the oscillation frequency determined by their mass. Gravitational wave detectors detect these oscillations because the oscillations affect test objects placed in the gravitational wave detectors path
There we have it; Photons have inertial mass and consequently gravity.
Whart1984
Aug 19, 2018
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
granville583762
4.2 / 5 (5) Aug 19, 2018
There we have it; Photons have inertial mass and consequently gravity

LIGOs search for darkphotons through the darkphotons properties of inertal mass emanating gravitational waves producing oscillating frequency proportional to their inertial mass as Albert theorised gravitational lensing in lightphotons with the now regularity of the famous Einstein's cross proving beyond indisputable fact PHOTONS be them Light or Dark as both have inertial mass that can be considered behaving as an oscillating background field, the oscillation frequency determined by their mass. Gravitational wave detectors detect these oscillations
Upon realisation of these facts the reality of Albert's Einstein cross in the vacuum there is no distinction between the properties of lightphotons and there theoretical apparition
Consequently lightphotons and darkphotons are in reality lightphotons
Photons are the only one in the vacuum
Whart1984
Aug 19, 2018
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Whart1984
Aug 19, 2018
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granville583762
4.2 / 5 (5) Aug 19, 2018
"Whart1984> what is a - very subtle quantum fluctuations"
My favourite phrase "the quantum fluctuations" A little used phrase outside the confines of theoretical worldly darkphotons and virtual particles of zero point energy where outside into the macro world it has a common use describing particles which of their nature are physically in the realms of the quantum fluctuations of fantasy.
What exactly are the "subtle quantum fluctuations" and the context in which you're implementing them Whart1984, as this is a fascinating insight into space-time like the stained glass which we would illuminate by light from side as the heavenly light spreads it shimmer coloured light through those religiously painted heavenly stained glass cathedral panes.
Whart1984
Aug 19, 2018
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Whart1984
Aug 19, 2018
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