Some of the world’s most powerful particle accelerators have helped researchers identify new major boundaries for the existence of long theorized magnetic monopolies from the collision of energetic cosmic rays that bombard the Earth’s atmosphere, according to a new study published in Physical review letters.
Magnets are well known to everyone with a wide range of applications in everyday life, from TVs and computers to children’s toys. However, breaking any magnet, such as the navigation compass needle, which consists of the north and south poles in half, will result in two smaller bipolar magnets. This mystery has surfaced from researchers for decades since 1931, when physicist Paul Dirac theorized the existence of unipolar “magnetic monopoles” – particles comparable to electrons but with a magnetic charge.
To study whether magnetic monopolies exist, an international team of researchers, including Vladimir Takhistov of the Cowley Universe Institute of Physics and Mathematics at the University of Tokyo, studied available data from various ground-based experiments and conducted the most sensitive monopole searches to date. possible masses. Researchers have focused on an unusual source of monopolies – atmospheric collisions of cosmic rays that occur over many eras.
Interdisciplinary research required combining experiences from several different angles of science – including accelerator physics, neutrino interactions, and cosmic rays.
The collisions of cosmic rays with the atmosphere have already played a central role in the development of science, especially in the study of ghostly neutrinos. This led to 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics senior IPMU researcher Kavli Takaaki Kaditi for discovering as a result of the Super-Kamiokande experiment that neutrinos oscillate in flight, meaning they have mass.
Partly inspired by the results of Super-Kamiokande, the team set to work on monopolies. Particularly intriguing were light monopolies with masses around an electroweak scale that could be readily available for conventional particle accelerators.
By simulating cosmic ray collisions, similar to particle collisions at the LHC at CERN, the researchers obtained a stable beam of light monopolies that falls on various terrestrial experiments.
This unique source of monopolies is particularly interesting because it is independent of any pre-existing monopolies, such as those potentially left as relics from the early universe, and encompasses a wide range of energies.
By re-analyzing data from a wide range of previous experimental monopoly searches, the researchers identified new monopoly boundaries across a wide range of masses, including those that are beyond the reach of conventional collider monopoly searches.
These results and the source of the monopolies studied by the researchers will serve as a useful guide for interpreting future monopoly searches in ground-based laboratories.