HIM-Professor Budker receives EU funding for his search for dark matter and dark energy

Budker is embarking on a systematic search for the particles that make up dark matter and the components that make up dark energy
This metal cylinder is the outermost layer of a four-layer magnetic shield. At its center is a paraffin-coated rubidium gas chamber that acts as a magnetic sensor. Foto: A. Wickenbrock

 

2.05.2016 - Professor Dmitry Budker has been granted EUR 2.5 million in funding by the European Research Council (ERC) for his new project involving the hunt for dark matter and dark energy. Budker came to Mainz from the University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA, in early 2014. He holds a professorship at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in Experimental Atomic Physics and is section head at the Helmholtz Institute Mainz (HIM). Using a new approach, Budker is embarking on a systematic search for the particles that make up dark matter and the components that make up dark energy. Dark matter and dark energy are still among the great puzzles of physics. Jointly referred to as the "dark sector," they make up about 95 percent of the universe.

The ERC Advanced Grant is the most valuable endowment of the European Union awarded to outstanding researchers. In this case, the European Research Council decided to confer the grant on the submitted project "Experimental Searches for Oscillating and Transient Effects from the Dark Sector." The funding commences in 2016 and is guaranteed for five years. The objective of the project is to identify dark sector signatures with the help of new kind of techniques that involve the use of magnetic resonance and magnetometry. "Up to now there have been no unequivocal observations of dark sector particles or fields," explained Budker, referring to the starting point of the project. "We are planning experiments that will provide a direct connection to the dark sector and which in turn will allow us to carry out a systematic search for involved particles or fields," he added. Budker further hopes that the experiments will reveal new insights that will benefit a number of research fields, including particle physics, astrophysics, and cosmology. Indeed, the results could lay the foundations for a fundamentally new type of physics that goes beyond the Standard Model....

View the full article on the Website of the JGU Mainz.