Two interesting signals found in a small gravitational wave detector can represent all sorts of exotic phenomena, from new physics to dark matter interacting with black holes to vibrations from near the beginning of the universe. However, due to the novelty of the experiment, researchers are cautious about claiming all kinds of discoveries.
Facilities such as the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) Use a huge laser driven detector To look for the huge ripples in the fabric Space-time Known as gravitational waves. These come from the collision of black holes and neutron stars in the distant universe. These are very powerful events that rock space-time and send surges of wavelengths measured at hundreds of miles.
Long before these giant observatories were built, scientists suspected the existence of gravitational waves of that size. Black Hole Michael Tobar, a physicist at the University of Western Australia in Perth, told Live Science.
But there is no well-understood source of shorter wavelength gravitational waves between feet and miles, he added. Nevertheless, “there is always something we don’t expect in the universe,” Tobar said.
In recent years, there has been a need to build detectors that can search for these smaller gravitational waves, including those built by Tobar and his colleagues. Their device consists of a disk made of quartz with a diameter of 1 inch (3 centimeters) and a resonant chamber that produces an electrical signal each time it vibrates at a particular frequency.
Tobar likened the setup to a bell or gong ringing at a particular pitch. “When a gravitational wave hits it, it will excite it,” he said. Crystal ringing is detected as an electromagnetic signal by an electrical sensor.
Researchers have placed detectors behind multiple radiation shields to protect them from background electromagnetic fields and cool them to cryogenic temperatures to minimize thermal vibrations inside the device.
During the 153 days of the experiment, the crystal rang twice, each for 1-2 seconds.The team’s findings were published in the journal on August 12th. Physical review letter..
Scientists are now trying to figure out the cause of these consequences. Charged particles, called cosmic rays, that flow from space are one of the possible reasons, Tobar said. A previously unknown type of thermal fluctuation of crystals should have been minimized due to the ultra-low temperature, but he added that there is another possibility.
However, there are many exotic prospects, such as those known as a type of dark matter. Axion By rotating around a black hole and emitting gravitational waves, the researchers wrote in their treatise. According to Tovar, many explanations may require previously unknown physics beyond the Standard Model, which describes almost every subatomic particle and force in the universe.
Immediately after big BangCosmologists believe that the universe has undergone a period called inflation, during which time the universe expanded exponentially, Francesco Muia, a theoretical physicist at the University of Cambridge, England, who was not involved in the study. Told live science.
At the end of this era, he said, the universe may have undergone a phase transition, like the state of water changing from a liquid state to a gaseous state when it boils. If this happened, the transition could have stored a large amount of energy in the space-time structure, producing the gravitational waves that can be seen in this experiment, Muia said.
He doesn’t think there’s enough evidence yet of what the Crystal event was in any way, but he’s excited about this experiment and other experiments that will come online in the near future.
Tobar agreed. “If they were gravitational waves, that would be great, but who knows,” he said.
He added that researchers have these detections under their belts, so they can build more sensors like this. If multiple devices see the same signal at the same time, it can point to something in the universe and help eliminate internal processes such as thermal fluctuations inside the crystal.
Originally published in Live Science.
New gravitational wave detector picks up possible signals from the beginning of time
Source link New gravitational wave detector picks up possible signals from the beginning of time