BEIJING, Feb. 5 (Xinhua) — An international research team has been stationed in an underground laboratory in a mountain range in central Italy for years to gather evidence of neutrinos of the mysterious cosmic material, according tomedia reports. If confirmed, the discovery will solve the mystery of the universe that has plagued physicists for decades – why does matter exist?
Scientists have long believed that matter has a “twin brother” called antimatter, and that for every basic particle in the universe, there is an antiparticle that has the same mass as a fellow particle, but the charge, in contrast, annihilates the particles and the antiparticles when they come into contact head-on, producing pure energy.
Matter and antimatter are fully symmetrical
Thomas O’Donnell, a physics professor at Virginia Tech, said there was a clear complete symmetry between matter and antimatter, which meant that the formation of a substance produces a balanced antimatter, which is destroyed when it is destroyed. If the theory is correct, then the existence of a type of substance will inevitably be correspondingly there.
This symmetry contradicts the current human understanding of the origin of the universe, according to the Big Bang theory, when the universe expanded from an infinitely small singularity 13.8 billion years ago, there was an equivalent amount of matter and antimatter. At present, when astronomers observe space, they find that the universe is almost entirely made up of matter, but no antimatter is found, and even more troubling is that if the Big Bang theory is correct, then we humans should not exist.
“If matter and antimatter are fully guided by this symmetry, then as the universe evolves, all matter and antimatter will be annihilated into photons, stars, planets, and even human cells will not exist!” Here’s the question: Is it a violation of the symmetry system of matter and antimatter in the course of the evolution of the universe? “
That’s exactly what O’Donnell and his colleagues want to answer, and over the past two years they have collected and analyzed data from the “CUORE of Rare Events” at the National Laboratory in Gran Sasso, Italy, to find conclusive evidence that could solve the mystery of the universe.
The word CUORE is the heart in Italian, and the CUORE experiment is devoted to searching for subatomic particles called neutrinos and trying to prove that neutrinos are antiparticles, which physicists refer to as “Majorana particle.” Neutrinos pass through most matter like ghosts and are extremely difficult to detect, in fact, according to NASA, the sun releases trillions of neutrinos per second, some of which pass through the human body.
The CUORE experiment looked for signs of annihilation of manana neutrinos, a process known as “neutrino-free double beta decay.” During the normal double beta decay process, two neutrons in the nucleus are transformed into two protons at the same time, releasing a pair of electrons and anti-neutrinos, a phenomenon that occurs every 100 billion billion years, although very rare, but has been observed in real life.
However, if the researchers’ theory is correct and neutrinos are real Manarana particles (an antiparticle), then the two anti-neutrinos produced during decay will annihilate each other, producing a double beta decay without neutrinos. The end result? The process produces only electrons, which are “ordinary matter”, and if the process proves to be correct, it may be the reason why the early universe spread ordinary matter, however, scientists have assessed that the double beta decay without neutrinos (if it is real) may occur only once every 10 to 25 years.
“What we really want to see is a neutrino-free pattern that will break with conventional theory and produce substances without antimatter, which will be the first important clue to the asymmetry of matter-antimatter,” O’Donnell said. “
The CUORE detector looks for energy signals in the form of heat from electrons produced during the radioactive decay of the atom, and the double beta decay without neutrinos leaves a unique and differentiated peak in the electron energy spectrum.
Carlo Bucci, technical administrator of the CUORE project, said in a statement that the CUORE probe is essentially one of the world’s most sensitive thermometers, and after more than a decade of assembly, the device maintains the lowest temperature in the universe and is made up of 988 cubic crystals. Each cubic crystal is made of radon dioxide.
The detector remains at minus 273 degrees Celsius, and to protect the experiment from external particles, such as cosmic rays, the probe is encased in a thick, high-purity lead layer.
Despite the research group’s breakthrough in technology upgrades, finding no neutrino events is not easy, and data collected by researchers has more than tripled since preliminary results were made in 2017, the largest data collected by such particle detectors to date, but the results show edited no evidence of neutrino double beta decay.
Now, the team believes neutrinos are at least 5 million times lighter than electrons, and they plan to upgrade the CUORE project after the first five years of operation and introduce a new crystal that they hope will significantly improve sensitivity.
“If history can predict the future well, then we can say with great certainty that pushing the limits of detection technology will allow us to observe neutrinos more deeply, hoping that we can discover the double beta decay process without neutrinos, or make some more exotic and unexpected scientific discoveries,” O’Donnell said. (Ye Ding Cheng)