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“Pions” explain universe’s invisible matter?



There’s been a long-running question as to why most of the universe’s matter remains unaccounted for.

According to Live Science,

Now, a team of five physicists has proposed that dark matter might be a kind of invisible, intangible version of a pion, a particle that was originally discovered in the 1930s. A pion is a type of meson — a category of particles made up of quarks and antiquarks; neutral pions travel between protons and neutrons and bind them together into atomic nuclei.

Most proposals about dark matter assume it is made up of particles that don’t interact with each other much — they pass through each other, only gently touching. The name for such particles is weakly interacting massive particles, or WIMPs. Another idea is that dark matter is made up of axions, hypothetical particles that could solve some unanswered questions about the Standard Model of particle physics. Axions wouldn’t interact strongly with each other, either.

The new proposal assumes that the dark matter pions interact much more strongly with each other. When the particles touch, they partially annihilate and turn into normal matter. “It’s a SIMP [strongly interacting massive particle],” said Yonit Hochberg, a postdoctoral researcher at Berkeley and lead author on the study. “Strongly interacting with itself. More.

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Pretty cool. Some of their earlier work is on arxiv.org as well. daveS

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