Washington: A recent study has suggested that dark matter may have existed before the Big Bang.
Dark matter, which researchers believe make-up about 80 per cent of the universe’s mass, is one of the most elusive mysteries in modern physics.
The study, published in the journal, ‘Physical Review Letters,’ presents a new idea of how dark matter was born and how to identify it with astronomical observations.
“The study revealed a new connection between particle physics and astronomy. If dark matter consists of new particles that were born before the Big Bang, they affect the way galaxies are distributed in the sky in a unique way,” said Tommi Tenkanen, a postdoctoral fellow in Physics and Astronomy at the Johns Hopkins University and the study’s author.
While not much is known about its origins, astronomers have shown that dark matter plays a crucial role in the formation of galaxies and galaxy clusters.
For a long time, researchers believed that dark matter must be a leftover substance from the Big Bang. Researchers have long sought this kind of dark matter, but so far all experimental searches have been unsuccessful.
“If dark matter were truly a remnant of the Big Bang, then in many cases researchers should have seen a direct signal of dark matter in different particle physics experiments already,” said Tenkanen.
Using a new, simple mathematical framework, the study showed that dark matter may have been produced before the Big Bang during an era known as the cosmic inflation when space was expanding very rapidly.
The rapid expansion is believed to lead to copious production of certain types of particles called scalars. So far, only one scalar particle has been discovered the famous Higgs boson.
“We do not know what dark matter is, but if it has anything to do with any scalar particles, it may be older than the Big Bang. With the proposed mathematical scenario, we don’t have to assume new types of interactions between visible and dark matter beyond gravity, which we already know is there,” explained Tenkanen.
While the idea that dark matter existed before the Big Bang is not new, other theorists have not been able to come up with calculations that support the idea.
The new study showed that researchers always overlooked the simplest possible mathematical scenario for dark matter’s origins, he said.