Particles at atomic and subatomic levels posses a certain complexity whereby they can show a beautiful phenomena known as ‘murmuration’ which is the behavior exhibited when huge flocks of birds (starlings to be exact) in migration form shape-shifting flight patterns whereby it appears the involving of some kind of shared consciousness or central intelligence. Like these birds, subatomic particles can behave in a similar manner whereby it seems that they are orchestrated by some higher power. This can drive them into a dark structure that winds up being complex, when seen as a whole. But in reality, what we witness is the emergent patterns from each individual particle simply doing it darndest not to collide with the particles nearby.
However, finding plausible answers these days with the avalanche of information produced by many of today’s scientists due the experiments they are conducting, is not an easy task and thus I made an appointment with the Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron in Hamburg, Germany in order to satisfy some of my childhood euphoria and curiosity concerning the new knowledge in advanced technologies even more.
Arriving at DESY’s campus, two sympathetic portiers directed me to building 1 where I met DESY’s press officer Dr. Thomas Zoufal, PhD who took me on a private tour through the research center. I let myself surprise with the complexity of DESY’s upcoming research projects like Alps II (Any Light Particle Search) and PETRA IV which indeed do look a little bit blurry in the beginning. But listening to Dr. Zoufal’s explanation about the accelerator technology behind it with that much passion, it is almost impossible not to gain this exited hunger for the experiments with which particle physicists want to prove the existence of the hypothetical Axion-like particles that might be constituents of the mysterious dark matter but haven´t been seen so far. “There are very serious theories saying that they have to be there!” Dr. Zoufal says. “It is like with the well-known Higgs particle, you don’t see the Higgs particle itself but you see the particles which are coming out of the decay of the Higgs particle and, after measuring these particles, you can proof that it is there without seeing it directly.”
But DESY is no sleeping volcano when it comes down in conducting new scientific research in this quest for understanding the nature of dark matter! Reading the website the names APLS II and MAD MAX (MAgnetized Disc and Mirror Axion eXperiment) does draw ones attention for sure especially when it is understood that these projects are meant for probing even further into regions where there are strong astrophysical hints for the existence of Axion-like particles. A smaller prototype of the MAD MAX experiment will be built by 2021, when results are satisfying, which allows DESY’s scientists to search for exotic dark matter particles. With the final stage of the MADMAX experiment it should then be possible to cover an important parameter range for axions, which is predicted if axions are the dark matter.
But the ‘Light-Through-The-Wall’ experiment, which hopefully, will provide more answers to what dark matter could be, is only one of many projects of the Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron. Accelerator technology, photon science, particle physics and astro-particle physics are DESY’s research interest. According to the website; “These four areas are the basis for mastering some complex challenges of the future.”
With this variety in research options and with its huge research infrastructures like the synchrotron radiation source PETRA III, DESY attracts more than 3000 guest researchers from over 40 countries every year who join DESY´s scientists in turning the research center into a big think tank while plowing through mountains of data, looking for the tiniest building blocks of matter that make up our world, developing innovative high-tech materials and searching for sustainable solutions and new technologies with new conceptual approaches for future energy supply, climate protection and healthcare.
Indeed, your insight and curiosity with the latest innovative technologies science has to offer these days in accelerator technology starts with one of the world’s leading accelerator centres: DESY.
For more information about DESY: http://www.desy.de/index_eng.html