XENON international team of scientists has published the results of experiments on the search for dark matter. Physicists have discovered a mysterious anomaly, which can be either the cause of the residual number of tritium atoms (hydrogen isotope), or evidence of the existence of solar axions or unknown properties of neutrinos. This was reported in a press release published on Phys.org.
The XENON1T detector is designed to detect dark matter, which, according to modern concepts, accounts for up to 85 percent of matter in the Universe. Until now, scientists have observed only indirect signs of dark matter. Hypothetical WIMP particles (WIMPs) are some of the candidates for the role of dark matter particles, but only the probability limit for the interaction of a wide range of WIMP masses was determined. XENON1T is also sensitive to other types of particles.
The XENON1T detector contains several tons of xenon, which serves as a target for particles interacting to generate photons and free electrons. Researchers estimated the number of such background events and found their excess compared to the expected value. One of the explanations is the presence of several tritium atoms, but so far this cannot be confirmed. An alternative hypothesis suggests the presence of a new particle – axions, the source of which is the Sun. Another possibility is the mismatch of the property (magnetic moment) of the neutrino with the value in the Standard Model.