In what sounds like a science fiction movie premise, physicists have published a study claiming that “portals” might link our physical reality to an unseen reality containing dark matter and dark energy. The study was published in Physical Review Letters and was conducted by the Institute for Basic Science (IBS), a South Korean government-funded science laboratory. According to their research, these portals help bridge the gap between the Standard Model of physics (SM) – laws which govern the matter and energy in our observable universe – and unseen forces which the Standard Model can attribute only to the presence of dark energy and dark matter:
Despite the success of the standard model (SM), there are reasons to believe that our physical world is composed of more particles, including those that do not couple to the SM particles in a vivid way (e.g., dark matter); these are often called hidden sector particles. […] The concept of portals has helped in understanding the possible mixing of the hidden sector particles with the SM and how to search for them.
Despite being completely invisible to us and our instruments, the presence of dark matter can be detected through measuring its interactions with the observable universe such as its effects on gravitational waves and gravitational lensing. Several theoretical (but unobservable) particles such as axions and dark photons have been suggested as the means by which the dark sector might interact with the particles of our sector, but the exact mechanism for this interaction has remained unexplainable.
According to study author Lee Hye-Sung, this latest proposed “dark axion portal” could continue to help answer some of the unexplainable phenomena that theoretical physics proposes:
The dark axion portal suggests the first meaningful connection between the two physics, which have been studied separately: It connects the dots. This will allow reinterpretation of the previous data, and potentially make a breakthrough in the axion and dark photon searches.
At some point, you have to wonder about this stuff. Scientists have searched for dark matter for years without much result. Does such an unobservable “dark sector” of reality interact with our own reality through sending dark particles through interdimensional portals? I don’t know, but I know I need a few more years of school before I can wrap my head around that one.