Exploring the Universe
One of the most perplexing cosmological puzzles is why the universe contains far more matter than antimatter, and hence why we exist. Now, a group of theoretical physicists claims to have discovered the solution. They only need to detect gravitational waves emitted by strange quantum particles known as Q balls.
Every conventional matter particle has an antimatter companion with opposing qualities, and matter and antimatter annihilate each other when they interact. This fact makes our existence a puzzle because cosmologists believe that at the beginning of the universe, equal amounts of matter and antimatter were created. All of those matter and antimatter partners should have destroyed each other. As a result, the cosmos is empty of all matter. Despite this, matter exists, and scientists are slowly figuring out why.
Q balls, hypothesized “lumps” that formed in the minutes after the Big Bang, before the cosmos swelled rapidly like a balloon, could be one reason. These objects would have their imbalance of matter and antimatter. This indicates that there would be unequal amounts of matter and antimatter in each Q ball. The “popping” of these Q balls would have expelled more matter than antimatter, causing gravitational ripples throughout space-time.
One proposal, developed by Princeton University physicists Ian Affleck and Michael Dine in 1985, attempts to explain the universe’s matter-antimatter asymmetry. This was done by stating that the fields governing the early balloon-like inflation of the universe had to be somewhat shallow for it to happen.
What are Q Balls?
Because inflation necessitates homogeneity, the field can’t interact with other fields (basically other trampolines) too strongly to generate particles. However, according to Affleck and Dine’s theory, this field interacts with others in such a way that matter particles outnumber antimatter particles. The field contained the particles in “lumps” to retain that consistent shape.
“Q balls are the name for these lumps. They are the field lumps, “a physicist at the Kavli Institute for Mathematics and Physics of the Universe, Graham White is the study’s lead author.
These Q balls remained as the universe expanded. “And eventually, in terms of how much energy they contain in comparison to the rest of the cosmos, they become the most important part of the universe.”
They don’t, however, last indefinitely. When the Q balls vanish, filling the cosmos with more matter than antimatter, they do so with such force that sound waves are produced. According to the latest research, such sound waves operate as a source for gravitational waves, which are ripples in space-time. If gravitational waves do exist, detectors can detect them here on Earth. According to White’s team, these include NASA’s Laser Interferometer Space Array (LISA) and the subterranean Einstein Telescope.