Dark matter stands as a perplexing enigma within contemporary cosmology. While astronomers have amassed an abundance of corroborating evidence via statistics on galaxy clustering, the bending of light due to gravity, and fluctuations in the cosmic microwave background, the absence of particles within the conventional model of particle physics capable of elucidating dark matter remains apparent. Furthermore, our ability to perceive its local impact has remained elusive. This well-founded hypothesis remains elusive, hinting at the possibility of imminent breakthroughs that could either substantiate or undermine its validity. Encouragingly, numerous initiatives are actively in pursuit of unraveling the mysteries of dark matter, and among these endeavors, the IceCube Neutrino Observatory has recently unveiled a fresh outcome.
As an observatory designed for neutrinos, IceCube is incapable of directly identifying dark matter. However, it possesses the capability to perceive localized impacts generated by dark matter, resulting in the production of neutrinos. One predominant concept relating to particles of dark matter suggests that they consist of substantial entities that primarily interact among themselves while only weakly engaging with conventional matter particles. These particles, known as Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPs), could conceivably be present within the Earth’s core.
Should the WIMP hypothesis prove accurate, instances of dark matter colliding with massive entities such as planets or stars would lead to interactions with densely packed ordinary matter, inducing a deceleration effect. This phenomenon would cause certain WIMPs to become gravitationally ensnared within these celestial bodies. Consequently, these confined WIMPs would periodically collide, giving rise to particle decay processes that yield neutrinos. Consequently, an abundance of neutrinos is expected to emanate from the Earth’s core. The IceCube observatory has the potential to detect and measure this surplus of neutrinos.
In this research, the group examined data spanning a decade from IceCube and discovered no indications of excessive neutrinos. Considering the energy cross-section of IceCube detectors, this effectively eliminates WIMPs with a mass surpassing 100 GeV, or slightly over 100 times the mass of a proton. This outcome aligns with other investigations that also eliminate high-mass WIMPs. The possibility of lighter mass dark matter particles remains viable, yet we now possess an extensive track record of discarding potential dark matter contenders. Strategies are in place to enhance IceCube’s sensitivity, which will facilitate further assessments of dark matter by seeking lighter mass WIMPs. This could potentially lead to the identification of local dark matter, although our feasible options are diminishing rapidly. Up to this point, we have excluded various dark matter candidates, and we might need to explore alternatives like adjusted gravitational theories. However, that’s a narrative for another occasion.