The search for the fifth dimension begins

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Washington, March 11 : Researchers are exploring the possibility of an extra dimension, other than the currently known three dimensions of space and one of time.

The research team is from the Department of Physics and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Virginia Tech, US.

According to Michael Kavic, graduate student at Virginia Tech and one of the investigators on the project, "The idea we're exploring is that the universe has an imperceptibly small dimension (about one billionth of a nanometer) in addition to the four that we know currently."

"This extra dimension would be curled up, in a state similar to that of the entire universe at the time of the Big Bang," he explained.

The group is looking for small primordial black holes that, when they explode, may produce a radio pulse that could be detected here on Earth. These black holes are called primordial because they were created a fraction of a second after the beginning of the universe.

Black holes are expected to evaporate over time, losing mass and therefore shrinking. A black hole larger than the extra dimension would wrap around it like a thick rubber band wrapped around a hose.

As a black hole shrinks down to the size of the extra dimension, it would be stretched so thin it would snap, causing an explosion, which could produce a radio pulse.

The Virginia Tech group is preparing to set up an Eight-meter-wavelength Transient Array radio telescope in Montgomery County to search the sky for these radio pulses from explosions up to 300 light years away.

"We have a number of things in mind that have been predicted to produce radio pulses, which have not been seen," said John Simonetti, associate professor of physics in the College of Science. "One of them is a primordial black hole explosion," he added.

"Basically we're looking for any exotic, high-energy explosion that would produce radio waves," said Simonetti.

The Virginia Tech research team plans to run the search for at least five years.

ANI

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