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This Mind-Bending Theory Joins Black Holes, Gravitational Waves & Axions to Find New Physics

Modern physics has some most confusing complications like black holes, gravitational waves and axions, these must be solved. Scientists have proposed a new theory that combines some of these mysterious phenomenon in the Universe. Scientists are very excited to work on this theory. The theory, which imagines a Universe filled with massive 'gravitational atoms' that are capable of producing vast clouds of dark matter, and by using a giant gravitational wave detector called LIGO it could be possible to detect entirely new kinds of particles.

Benjamin Safdi MIT particle physicist,said: "This is probably the most promising paper I've seen so far on the new physics we might probe with gravitational waveswho wasn't involved in the research, told Nature.” Tracy Slatyer a particle astrophysicist, from MIT, said: "It's an awesome idea, the [LIGO] data is going to be there, and it would be amazing if we saw something."

Before getting in deep, let's discuss some major aspects.

Black holes are region of space having a gravitational field so intense that no matter or radiation can escape. Scientists believe they are formed when the body of a huge star collapses in on itself, becoming so thick that it twists the fabric of space and time. Black holes are the only objects in the universe that can trap light by absolute gravitational force.

Confirmed for the first time few years ago, but predicted by Einstein more than a century ago.

And axions? We’ve been searching for them for the past four decades.

 Well, they're a bit trickier, because we're not even sure if axions exist.

Axions are predicted to make up 85 percent of all matter in the Universe and they are one of the many candidates that have been proposed for dark matter which is a mysterious, invisible substance whose gravity appears to hold our galaxies together.

Axions are predicted to weigh around 1 quintillion times less than an electron, and it is not quite easy to prove their existence.

Okay, now that we have all the pieces in place, let's get to this mind-bending new theory. (And yes, we're calling it a theory, not a hypothesis, because it's based on a mathematical framework. More on that here).

The Theory:

If axions exist it is possible that they are in the form of vast clouds of particles by a spinning black hole according to the research of a team of physicists led by Asimina Arvanitaki and Masha Baryakhtar from the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Canada.

Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, a physicists at University of Washington said: “It's so cool, and I haven't read a paper that talked about [superradiance] in years. It was really fun to see superradiance and axions in one paper."

Baryakhtar told Ryan F. Mandelbaum at Gizmodo said: "The basic idea is that we're trying to use black holes... the densest, most compact objects in the Universe, to search for new kinds of particles,"

Axions are like moving electrons around the nucleus and nucleus is black hole.
Mandelbaum explains: "[E]lectrons interact via electromagnetism, so they let out electromagnetic waves, or light waves. Axions interact via gravity, so they let out gravitational waves."

If an axion stray too close to the black hole's event horizon, the spin of the black hole will 'supercharge' it, and due to a process called superradiance that has been shown to multiply photons in many experiments in the past, this will cause the axions to multiply within a black hole. These multiplying axions would interact with the black hole in the same way as the original axion near the event horizon, resulting in 1080 axions.

Mandelbaum explains: "the same number of atoms in the entire Universe, around a single black hole."

These multiplying axions are same as electron clouds in an atom, when these axions group together in a huge quantum waves. Within this cloud, any axions that collide with each other would produce gravitons a particle thought to facilitate the force of gravitation.

In order to work, the axions must have a very specific mass, and that mass doesn't necessarily get well with current predictions on dark matter.

Gravitons are to gravitational waves as photons are to light, and Baryakhtar and her team propose that they would set off continuous waves into the Universe at a frequency set by the axion's mass.

The researchers predict that LIGO is be able to spot thousands of these axion signals in a single year, finally giving them a way to observe the signature of dark matter, because scientists are struggling for it for decades.

Theories like these always come with some admonitions.

It might not be too long before we can test it out for real. But physicists are still excited by the idea, and with LIGO expected to increase greatly in sensitivity in the next couple of years.

You can read the entire research paper here.

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