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 could possibly shed insights into the interdependence between quantum discipline concept and normal relativity concept, 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 solution to reply these open questions in physics.

The universe has plenty of unusual properties which are obscure via 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 sooner tempo.

Evidently each properties are associated, as a result of darkish vitality It is usually thought of a driver of accelerated enlargement. Furthermore, it may possibly unite two highly effective physics colleges of thought: quantum discipline 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 solution to remedy 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 basic results of quantum discipline 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 discipline concept seems to be incompatible with normal relativity. Its most important benefit: not like quantum mechanics, the speculation considers not solely particles but additionally spheres devoid of matter as quantum objects.

“Inside this framework, many researchers contemplate darkish vitality to be an expression of what’s referred to as vacuum vitality,” says Tkatchenko, a bodily amount that outcomes, in residing kind, from the looks and steady interplay of pairs of particles and their antiparticles — resembling 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 certain quantity of vitality.

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

Large mismatch

Not like the vitality of a vacuum, which may solely be deduced from the equations of quantum discipline concept, the cosmological fixed may be decided immediately by astrophysical experiments. Measurements with the Hubble House Telescope and the Planck house mission have yielded shut and dependable values ​​for the elemental bodily amount. Alternatively, darkish vitality calculations primarily based on quantum discipline concept result in outcomes per the worth of the cosmological fixed being 10120 occasions 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 called the “enigma of the cosmological fixed”.

“It’s undoubtedly one of many best contradictions in trendy 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 necessary 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 lead to 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 brief time of existence,” explains Tkachenko. Physicists check with 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 elemental mannequin of atoms a number of years in the past and offered 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 simple to measure geometrical properties experimentally, polarization will also 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, 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 inside 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 consequence obtained on this manner 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 gives a chic and unconventional method to fixing the thriller of the cosmological fixed,” the physicist concludes. “Furthermore, it supplies a verifiable prediction: particularly, that quantum fields resembling these of electrons and positrons do certainly possess a small however ever-present intrinsic polarization.”

This discovering factors the way in which for future experiments to detect this polarization within the laboratory as properly, say the 2 Luxembourg-based researchers. “Our aim is to derive the cosmological fixed from a rigorous quantum concept method,” asserts Dmitry Fedorov. “And our work features a recipe for tips on 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: “In the end, this will additionally make clear the way in which quantum discipline concept and normal relativity concept intertwine as two methods of wanting on the universe and its parts.”

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

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