- A large number of specific types of particles (known as scalars) were created during cosmic inflation.
- If dark matter has any connection with these scalar particles, it may predate the Big Bang.
About 85 percent of the mass of the universe is made up of mysterious material called dark matter. It neither absorbs, emits or reflects light or any other known form of radiation. Also, it doesn’t have any electromagnetic charge and doesn’t interact with other matter except through gravity.
While scientists have shown how dark matter affects the formation of galaxies and galaxy clusters, not much is known about its origins. Currently, it is believed that dark matter is leftover material from the Big Bang.
Now, researchers at Johns Hopkins University have uncovered a new link between astronomy and particle physics. It indicates that dark matter was born before the Big Bang and it affected the galaxy distribution throughout the universe.
For decades, scientists have been trying to observe dark matter but all experiments conducted so far haven’t provided any fruitful results. According to the research team, if dark matter were born after the Big Bang, we would have captured direct signals in different particle physics experiments by now.
New Mathematical Framework
The new calculations show that dark matter could have been formed during cosmic inflation (exponential expansion of space in the early universe). This rapid expansion lasted from 10−36 seconds to 10−32 seconds after the conjectured Big Bang singularity.
During this period, a large number of specific types of particles — known as scalars — were created. So far, astronomers have been able to discover only one scalar particle – Higgs boson.
Timeline of the Universe after the Big Bang | Credit: NASA
The origin of dark matter is a mystery but if it has any connection with scalar particles it may predate the Big Bang.
The new calculations do not consider any new types of interactions between dark matter and visible materials beyond gravitational influence, which is already known. The mathematical framework takes a wide range of scenarios into account, where a large free scalar field inevitably reaches an equilibrium between its quantum and classical dynamics in a characteristic timescale during inflation and sources the dark matter density.
Although the theory that dark matter predates the Bing Bang has been presented several times in the past, the new findings show theorists have always failed to spot the simple mathematical scenarios for the origin of dark matter.
Furthermore, this study proposes a method to test the origin of dark matter by analyzing the impact it leaves on the distribution of visible materials in the universe.
The new study also suggests a way to test the origin of dark matter by observing the signatures dark matter leaves on the distribution of matter in the universe. Although it is extremely difficult to detect such dark matter in particle experiments, it can be found in astronomical observations.
The European Space Agency will launch Euclid satellite in 2022. This visible to near-infrared space telescope will help scientists learn more about dark matter and dark energy.