It is as mysterious as it is ubiquitous: although dark matter shapes our universe, its nature is still unclear. But one candidate for the long-sought particle of dark matter is currently booming: the axion. This hypothetical particle could close several gaps in the standard model at once – and the chances of a successful search are meanwhile not bad.
With several experiments around the world, physicists are currently trying to identify axions – particles that could form the basis of dark matter and whose characteristics are more like a force particle than a particle of matter. In some ways, the “dark” boson we’re looking for might even resemble the famous Higgs boson, which gives mass to everything.
However, the search is made more difficult by the fact that the scientists don’t even know where to look – the range of the possible mass of this particle is huge. Nevertheless, many physicists are quite confident that they will be able to track down the axion within the next ten years – if it does exist.