Credit: Federico Beccari via Unsplash

University to be involved in new £31m project examining dark matter

By Silas Pease

The project team will be investigating the nature of dark matter and how it relates to the wider universe. 

Researchers from the University of Glasgow are set to be involved in a new £31m study examining the nature of dark matter with hopes of improving understanding of its role in the universe. 

The project won funding from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), and is reportedly one of seven new projects aiming to transform understanding of the universe. Led by experts from Cardiff University, the project will involve other organisations from both in and outside of the UK, including the University of Strathclyde, Illinois-based Fermilab, and the Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY) in Germany. 

The research goal is to use quantum technology to examine the spaces between photons at a greater capacity than has been achieved thus-far, in theory allowing for a better examination of dark matter interaction at this level. Researchers should consequently develop a greater understanding of gravity’s functioning in tandem with other forces. 

According to CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, dark matter is thought to make up around 27% of the entire universe; over five times the proportion than that of visible matter. It does not absorb, emit, or reflect light, meaning understanding of it so far has been based primarily on its interaction with visible matter. Should this study come to any conclusions about dark matter, it may have significant, far-reaching effects on our current understanding of the universe. 

Professor of Photonics at the James Watt School of Engineering, Robert Hadfield, will be coordinating the University’s involvement in the project. In a recent University news update, Professor Hadfield expressed his pleasure in being involved in the study, stating: “I am excited to contribute my know-how in single-photon detection to the challenge of dark matter detection. I am delighted to be part of this major research effort with expert colleagues from across the UK and our international partners.”


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