A new experiment may have found the first direct evidence of dark matter particles, a discovery that could begin to unravel one of the biggest mysteries in physics.
Theorists believe that dark matter, made up of of weakly-interacting massive particles, composes 23 percent of the universe, but no one has ever directly detected one of these WIMPs.
Now, physicists have announced they’ve spotted electrons with just about the amount of energy they would have expected to be made by a particular kind of WIMP entering the visible world.
John Wefel of Louisiana State University and colleagues report in Nature Wednesday that they could have detected “Kaluza-Klein” electron-positron pairs resulting from the annihilation of these WIMPS.
The KK particles are predicted by multiple-dimension theories of the universe and have long-been a leading candidate as the substance of dark matter. The new discovery then, if confirmed, would provide evidence that the fabric of space-time has many “compact” dimensions beyond the four that humans perceive.
“If the Kaluza–Klein annihilation explanation proves to be correct, this will necessitate a fuller investigation of such multidimensional spaces, with potentially important implications for our understanding of the Universe,” the authors conclude.