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CosmosUp | November 12, 2019

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Sign of Parallel World? How Neutrons Might Escape Into Another Universe

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Sign of Parallel World? How Neutrons Might Escape Into Another Universe

The leap from our universe to another is theoretically possible, say physicists. And the technology to test the idea is available today.

The idea that our universe is embedded in a broader multidimensional space has captured the imagination of scientists and the general population alike.

This notion is not entirely science fiction. According to some theories, our cosmos may exist in parallel with other universes in other sets of dimensions. Cosmologists call these universes braneworlds.

And among that many prospects that this raises is the idea that things from our Universe might somehow end up in another.

In a paper published in European Physical Journal C, researchers hypothesised the existence of mirror particles to explain the anomalous loss of neutrons observed experimentally. The existence of such mirror matter had been suggested in various scientific contexts some time ago, including the search for suitable dark matter candidates.

 Theoretical physicists Zurab Berezhiani and Fabrizio Nesti from the University of l’Aquila, Italy hypothesized the existence of mirror particles to explain the anomalous loss of neutrons observed experimentally in a neutron trap.

The existence of such mirror matter had been suggested in various scientific contexts some time ago.

A couple of years ago, Michael Sarrazin at the University of Namur in Belgium and a few others showed how matter might make the leap in the presence of large magnetic potentials.

They re-analysed the experimental data obtained by the research group of Anatoly Serebrov at the Institut Laue-Langevin, France.

It showed that the loss rate of very slow free neutrons appeared to depend on the direction and strength of the magnetic field applied. This anomaly could not be explained by known physics.

Berezhiani believes it could be interpreted in the light of a hypothetical parallel world consisting of mirror particles. Each neutron would have the ability to transition into its invisible mirror twin, and back, oscillating from one world to the other.

The probability of such a transition happening was predicted to be sensitive to the presence of magnetic fields, and could therefore be detected experimentally. This neutron-mirror-neutron oscillation could occur within a timescale of a few seconds, according to the paper. The possibility of such a fast disappearance of neutrons—much faster than the ten-minute long neutron decay—albeit surprising, could not be excluded by existing experimental and astrophysical limits.

This interpretation assumes that the earth possesses a mirror magnetic field on the order of 0.1 Gauss (the Earth’s magnetic field at the surface is 0.31–0.58 Gauss). Such a field could be induced by mirror particles floating around in the galaxy as dark matter. Hypothetically, the earth could capture the mirror matter via some feeble interactions between ordinary particles and those from parallel worlds.

This experiment could be the biggest and most controversial discoveries in modern physics.

Read more [abstract].



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