A new particle, dubbed the axion, is changing dark energy in the cosmos, claims theoretical physicist Massimo Cerdonio from the University of Padova.
In a recent paper published online in the journal arXiv, Cerdonio calculated the amount of change in quantum fields needed to account for the change in dark energy, the latter issue having long puzzled scientists.
According to the paper, if there is a new quantum field responsible for the change in dark energy there must, accordingly, be a new particle out there in the universe.
The amount of change in dark energy that Cerdonio calculated requires a specific kind of particle mass. This mass is approximately the same as that of a new kind of particle that's already been predicted - the axion.
The theoretical particle, whose practice has never been detected, was conceived initially by physicists to help solve some problems with their quantum understanding of the strong nuclear force.
It is presumed the axion particle appeared in the very early universe, but has been "lurking" in the background.
All the while, other forces and particles controlled the direction of the universe, Cerdonio claims.
If these calculations are correct, the axion is already out there, filling up the universe and its quantum field.
Cerdonio argues the hypothetical axion is already changing the amount of dark energy in the cosmos at the very largest of scales even though the particle has never been seen in the laboratory.
Mysterious “dark energy” phenomenon
Earlier this year scientists claimed to have moved a step closer to understanding how the universe began after discovering a "ghost particle" formed during the big bang.
The vital particles formed 13.8 billion years ago and helped provide a structure for the early universe.
The growth rate of the universe has been up for scientific debate, as the measurements from nearby sources seem to be in conflict with the same measurement taken from distant sources.
It was determined that maybe some new ingredient in the cosmos is altering the expansion rate of the universe, which is accelerating, and the force driving this acceleration is "dark energy."
Scientists believe dark energy has something to do with the energy that's locked into the vacuum of space-time itself, and comes from all of the “quantum fields” that permeate the universe.
If the measurements of the expansion rate are accurate and dark energy really is changing, then this might give science a clue into the nature of those quantum fields.
Specifically, if dark energy is changing, that means that the quantum fields themselves have changed.
The interaction of these fields form the fundamental basis for today’s understanding of the quantum world.