The search for monopolar magnets by combining cosmic rays and particle accelerators

Researchers search for monopolar magnets by combining cosmic rays and particle accelerators

Figure 1. Schematic illustration of a magnetic compass, a regular magnet, and a virtual monopole magnetism. Credit: Kavli IPMU

Some of the world’s most powerful particle accelerators have helped researchers chart pioneering new frontiers for the existence of long-range magnetic monopoles from collisions of energetic cosmic rays bombarding Earth’s atmosphere, a new study reports published in Physical Review Letters.

Magnets are intimately familiar to everyone, with wide-ranging applications in everyday life, from televisions and computers to children’s toys. However, breaking any magnet, such as a navigation compass needle that is made up of north and south poles in half, will result in two smaller dipole magnets. This mystery has eluded researchers for decades, since 1931, when physicist Paul Dirac postulated the existence of a monopole.magnetic monopole“—particles similar to electrons but with a magnetic charge.

To explore the existence of magnetic monopoles, an international team of researchers, including a fellow of the Kavli Institute of Physics and Mathematics at the University of Tokyo (Kavli IPMU), Volodymyr Takistov, has studied available data from a variety of ground-based experiments and conducted the most sensitive searches to date on monopoles. The electrode has a wide range of potential masses. Researchers focused on an unusual source of monopoles – atmospheric collisions of cosmic rays that has been happening for ages.

The multidisciplinary research It requires bringing together expertise from many different angles of science – including the physics of acceleration, neutrino interactions, and cosmic rays.

Cosmic ray collisions with the atmosphere have already played a major role in the advancement of science, especially the exploration of ghostly neutrinos. This led to Kavli IPMU’s first colleague Takaaki Kajita receiving the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics for the Super-Kamiokande experiment’s discovery that neutrinos oscillate in flight, meaning they have mass.

Inspired in part by the results of Super-Kamiokande, the team began work on the unipolar. Of particular interest were the light monopoles with masses around the electroweak scale, which are easily accessible by conventional particle accelerators.

By running simulations of cosmic ray collisions, similar to the particle collision at the LHC at CERN, the researchers obtained a constant beam of monopolar light raining down on various ground-based experiments.

This unique source of monopoles is particularly interesting, as it is independent of any pre-existing monopoles such as those likely left as traces of early universeIt covers a wide range of energies.

By re-analyzing data from a wide range of previous experiments monopoly In the searches, researchers have identified new frontiers on monopoles across a wide range of masses, including those that are hard to reach with traditional monopole searches.

Researchers search for monopolar magnets by combining cosmic rays and particle accelerators

Figure 2. Schematic illustration of magnetic monopoles (M) production from cosmic ray collisions with Earth’s atmosphere. Credit: Volodymyr Takestov

These results and the monopolar source that the researchers studied will serve as a useful criterion for interpreting future monopolar searches in terrestrial laboratories.

Details of their studies have been published in Physical Review Letters On May 17th.


Harnessing the strongest magnetic fields in the universe can reveal an elusive particle


more information:
Syuhei Iguro et al., Monopoles from the Atmospheric Fixed Target Experiment, Physical Review Letters (2022). DOI: 10.1103/ PhysRevLett.128.201101

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University of Tokyo


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