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 clarification for darkish power. It could actually shed insights into the interdependence between quantum subject concept and common relativity concept, as two views of the universe and its parts.

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

The universe has quite a few unusual properties which are obscure by means 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 power of the universe. The most important contribution, about two-thirds, comes fromdarkish power— a hypothetical type of power whose background physicists are nonetheless baffled by. Furthermore, not solely is the universe increasing steadily, however it’s also doing so at an ever sooner tempo.

Plainly each properties are associated, as a result of darkish power It is usually thought of a driver of accelerated growth. Furthermore, it might probably unite two highly effective physics colleges of thought: quantum subject concept and the final concept of relativity developed by Albert Einstein. However there’s a catch: the accounts and notes are removed from similar. Two Luxembourg researchers present a brand new strategy to clear up this 100-year-old thriller in a analysis paper revealed by the journal Bodily assessment letters.

The impact of digital particles in a vacuum

“Vacuum has power. It is a basic results of quantum subject concept,” explains Professor Alexander Tkachenko, Professor of Theoretical Physics within the Division of Physics and Supplies Sciences at College of Luxembourg. This concept was developed to mix quantum mechanics and particular relativity, however quantum subject concept seems to be incompatible with common relativity. Its most important 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 take into account darkish power to be an expression of what’s known as vacuum power,” 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 house.

Planck's cosmic microwave background

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

Physicists converse 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 power.

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

Large mismatch

In contrast to the power of a vacuum, which might solely be deduced from the equations of quantum subject concept, the cosmological fixed could be decided straight by astrophysical experiments. Measurements with the Hubble Area Telescope and the Planck house mission have yielded shut and dependable values ​​for the basic bodily amount. However, darkish power calculations primarily based on quantum subject concept result in outcomes in line with the worth of the cosmological fixed being 10120 instances larger – a colossal discrepancy, though in line with the prevailing view of physicists right now, each values ​​must be equal. The contradiction that exists is as a substitute often known as the “enigma of the cosmological fixed”.

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

Unconventional manner 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 essential step nearer. In a theoretical work, they lately revealed their ends in Bodily assessment lettersThe 2 researchers in Luxembourg proposed a brand new clarification for darkish power. Zero level fluctuations are assumed to end in vacuum polarization, which could 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 check with this as a self-interacting vacuum. “It results in an power 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 a couple of years in the past and introduced it for the primary time in 2018. The mannequin was initially used to explain atomic properties, specifically 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 will also be decided by their method.

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

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

Constant values ​​and verifiable expectations

“Our work thus provides a chic and unconventional strategy to fixing the thriller of the cosmological fixed,” the physicist concludes. “Furthermore, it gives a verifiable prediction: particularly, 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 properly, say the 2 Luxembourg-based researchers. “Our purpose is to derive the cosmological fixed from a rigorous quantum concept strategy,” asserts Dmitry Fedorov. “And our work features a recipe for how you can understand that.”

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

Lastly, Tkatchenko is satisfied: “In the end, this may additionally make clear the best way quantum subject concept and common relativity concept intertwine as two methods of trying on the universe and its parts.”

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

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