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Researchers at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Dark Matter Particle Physics (CDM) and the University of Western Australia have built a two-centimeter detector that in its first 153 days of operation has detected a couple of events that researchers believe could be high-frequency gravitational waves, which have never been witnessed before. These types of waves would have been created by a primordial black hole or a cloud of dark matter particles.

Low-frequency gravitational waves are caused by two black holes spinning and merging into each other or a star disappearing into a black hole. Most research has focused on these low-frequency waves but there is also a significant amount of theoretical proposals for high-frequency gravitational wave sources as well.

The new detector may be able to pick up high-frequency gravitational waves because it is built around a quartz crystal bulk acoustic wave resonator that can vibrate at high frequencies due to acoustic waves traveling through its thickness. Those waves induce an electric charge that’s picked up by conducting plates and amplified into a signal that's easier for researchers to spot.

 

So far, the resonator detected some activity on May 12, 2019, and on November 27, 2019. The potential explanations for this activity were published this month in the journal Physical Review Letters.

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