Physicists discover a new way to solve the strange mystery of dark energy

Concept of the Great Expansion of Dark Energy

Physicists have proposed a brand new rationalization for darkish vitality. It might shed insights into the interdependence between quantum area idea and normal relativity idea, as two views of the universe and its parts.

What’s behind darkish vitality – and what hyperlinks it to the cosmological fixed launched by Albert Einstein? Two physicists from the College of Luxembourg level to a technique to reply these open questions in physics.

The universe has plenty of unusual properties which are obscure by way of on a regular basis expertise. For instance, the matter we all know, which is made up of elementary and composite particles made up of molecules and matter, apparently makes up solely a small a part of the vitality of the universe. The most important contribution, about two-thirds, comes fromdarkish vitality— a hypothetical type of vitality whose background physicists are nonetheless baffled by. Furthermore, not solely is the universe increasing steadily, however it is usually doing so at an ever quicker tempo.

Evidently each properties are associated, as a result of darkish vitality Additionally it is thought-about a driver of accelerated growth. Furthermore, it might probably unite two highly effective physics faculties of thought: quantum area idea and the overall idea of relativity developed by Albert Einstein. However there’s a catch: the accounts and notes are removed from an identical. Two Luxembourg researchers present a brand new technique to clear up this 100-year-old thriller in a analysis paper printed by the journal Bodily overview letters.

The impact of digital particles in a vacuum

“Vacuum has vitality. This can be a elementary results of quantum area idea,” explains Professor Alexander Tkachenko, Professor of Theoretical Physics within the Division of Physics and Supplies Sciences at College of Luxembourg. This idea was developed to mix quantum mechanics and particular relativity, however quantum area idea seems to be incompatible with normal relativity. Its primary benefit: not like quantum mechanics, the idea considers not solely particles but in addition spheres devoid of matter as quantum objects.

“Inside this framework, many researchers think about darkish vitality to be an expression of what’s known as vacuum vitality,” says Tkatchenko, a bodily amount that outcomes, in dwelling type, from the looks and steady interplay of pairs of particles and their antiparticles — similar to electrons and positrons — in what’s in actuality Empty area.

Planck's cosmic microwave background

Planck’s cosmic microwave background. Credit score: ESA and Planck Collaboration

Physicists communicate of the comings and goings of digital particles and their quantum fields as fluctuations in a vacuum, or zero level. As pairs of particles quickly fade again into nothingness, their presence leaves behind a specific amount of vitality.

The Luxembourg scientist notes that “this vacuum vitality additionally has a which means normally relativity”: “It manifests itself within the cosmological fixed that Einstein included in his equations for bodily causes.”

Huge mismatch

Not like the vitality of a vacuum, which may solely be deduced from the equations of quantum area idea, the cosmological fixed may be decided straight by astrophysical experiments. Measurements with the Hubble Area Telescope and the Planck area mission have yielded shut and dependable values ​​for the basic bodily amount. Then again, darkish vitality calculations based mostly on quantum area idea result in outcomes in line with the worth of the cosmological fixed being 10120 instances better – a colossal discrepancy, though based on the prevailing view of physicists right this moment, each values ​​must be equal. The contradiction that exists is as an alternative often called the “enigma of the cosmological fixed”.

“It’s surely one of many biggest contradictions in fashionable science,” says Alexander Tkachenko.

Unconventional means of interpretation

Along with fellow Luxembourg researcher Dr Dmitry Fedorov, he has now introduced the answer to this thriller, which has been open-ended for many years, an vital step nearer. In a theoretical work, they lately printed their ends in Bodily overview lettersThe 2 researchers in Luxembourg proposed a brand new rationalization for darkish vitality. Zero level fluctuations are assumed to end in vacuum polarization, which may be measured and calculated.

“In pairs of digital particles of reverse electrical cost, they come up from the electrodynamic forces that these particles exert on one another throughout their very quick time of existence,” explains Tkachenko. Physicists seek advice from this as a self-interacting vacuum. “It results in an vitality density that may be decided with the assistance of a brand new mannequin,” says scientist Luxembourg.

Along with analysis colleague Fedorov, they developed the basic mannequin of atoms just a few years in the past and offered it for the primary time in 2018. The mannequin was initially used to explain atomic properties, particularly the connection between the polarizations of atoms and the equilibrium properties of some non-covalently bonded molecules and solids. Since it is extremely straightforward to measure geometrical properties experimentally, polarization can be decided by their formulation.

“We transferred this process to operations in a vacuum,” Fedorov explains. To this finish, the 2 researchers appeared on the habits of quantum domains, particularly the illustration of the “coming and going” of electrons and positrons. Fluctuations of those fields can be characterised by an equilibrium geometry already recognized from experiments. “We inserted it into the formulation of our mannequin, and on this means we lastly obtained the polarization power of the interior void,” says Fedorov.

The ultimate step then was to mechanically calculate the vitality density of the self-interaction between fluctuations of electrons and positrons. The end result obtained on this means is in good settlement with the measured values ​​of the cosmological fixed. This implies: “Darkish vitality may be traced again to the vitality density of the self-interaction of quantum fields,” asserts Alexander Tkachenko.

Constant values ​​and verifiable expectations

“Our work thus affords a sublime and unconventional method to fixing the thriller of the cosmological fixed,” the physicist concludes. “Furthermore, it offers a verifiable prediction: specifically, that quantum fields similar to these of electrons and positrons do certainly possess a small however ever-present intrinsic polarization.”

This discovering factors the best way for future experiments to detect this polarization within the laboratory as nicely, say the 2 Luxembourg-based researchers. “Our purpose is to derive the cosmological fixed from a rigorous quantum idea method,” asserts Dmitry Fedorov. “And our work features a recipe for find out how to notice that.”

He sees the brand new outcomes obtained with Alexander Tkachenko as step one in the direction of a greater understanding of darkish vitality – and its relationship to Albert Einstein’s cosmological fixed.

Lastly, Tkatchenko is satisfied: “Finally, this could additionally make clear the best way quantum area idea and normal relativity idea intertwine as two methods of trying on the universe and its elements.”

Reference: “Casimir self-interaction vitality density in quantum electrodynamic fields” by Aleksandr Tkachenko and Dmitry Fedorov, Jan. 24, 2023, Obtainable right here. Bodily overview letters.
DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.130.041601

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