Washington: Scientists have revealed that GPS might be a tool in directly detecting and measuring dark matter, so far an elusive but ubiquitous form of matter responsible for the formation of galaxies .
Two physicists, Andrei Derevianko, of the University of Nevada, Reno and Maxim Pospelov, of the University of Victoria and the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Canada, have proposed a method for a dark-matter search with GPS satellites and other atomic clock networks that compares times from the clocks and looks for discrepancies.
Derevianko, a professor in the College of Science at the University, said that despite solid observational evidence for the existence of dark matter, its nature remains a mystery and some research programs in particle physics assume that dark matter is composed of heavy-particle-like matter. This assumption may not hold true, and significant interest exists for alternatives.
He added that modern physics and cosmology fail dramatically in that they can only explain 5 percent of mass and energy in the universe in the form of ordinary matter, but the rest is a mystery.
The researchers said that the study pursues the idea that dark matter may be organized as a large gas-like collection of topological defects, or energy cracks and they propose to detect the defects, the dark matter, as they sweep through us with a network of sensitive atomic clocks.
The idea is, where the clocks go out of synchronization, they would know that dark matter, the topological defect, has passed by. In fact, they envision using the GPS constellation as the largest human-built dark-matter detector.
The researchers added that they are starting to test the dark matter detection ideas by analyzing clock data from the 30 GPS satellites, which use atomic clocks for everyday navigation. Correlated networks of atomic clocks such as the GPS and some ground networks already in existence, can be used as a powerful tool to search for the topological defect dark matter where initially synchronized clocks will become desynchronized. The time discrepancies between spatially separated clocks are expected to exhibit a distinct signature.
The study was published in Nature Physics journal.