A Ben-Gurion University professor and a professor from California State University believe they will be able to expand the understanding of dark matter in the scientific community and beyond.


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For years, dark matter was considered a celestial conundrum: A mysterious matter hypothesized by astronomers to explain the gravitational force holding galaxies and galaxy clusters together.

Unlike “ordinary matter,” dark matter is undetectable, even by electromagnetic radiation, which can detect radio waves and gamma rays. Yet dark matter is one of the basic components of the universe and five times more abundant than ordinary matter.

Photo Credit: Ben-Gurion University

While astronomical measurements have confirmed its existence, attempts at direct detection have had minimal success, leaving us with only a vague understanding of it. But with today’s technological and scientific advancements, there may be a way to learn more about this celestial mystery.

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev’s Prof. Ron Folman will lead an international effort to detect and observe dark matter directly in collaboration with Prof. Derek Jackson Kimball of California State University.  

“Astronomical observations have brought the scientific community to the conclusion that a very large portion of the mass in the universe does not emit light and is therefore invisible to our telescopes,” explains Folman. “This has led to the dark matter paradigm. The essence of this project is to find new methods to detect this material.” 

The research will be based on a theory that there are types of dark matter that generate a signal similar to a magnetic field, which means it should be detectable via highly sensitive magnetic sensors. By combining this theory with the scientific and technological advancements in atomic spectroscopy, magnetic sensors, lasers and optics, atomic clocks and advanced electronics, they plan to construct and operate an advanced dark matter detector.  

Folman and his esteemed colleagues believe they will be able to expand the understanding of dark matter in the scientific community and beyond.