Wednesday, April 03, 2013

AMS and Dark Matter

Today the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) Collaboration announced the publication of its first physics result in Physical Review Letters. The AMS Experiment is the most powerful and sensitive particle physics spectrometer ever deployed in space.  In the initial 18 month period of space operations, from May 19, 2011 to December 10, 2012, AMS analyzed 25 billion primary cosmic ray events.  Of these, 6.8 million, were unambiguously identified as electrons and their antimatter counterpart, positrons.  The positron to electron ratio shows no anisotropy indicating the energetic positrons are not coming from a preferred direction in space, but instead a common source, in support of new physics, e.g. dark matter.

AMS has measured the positron fraction (ratio of the positron flux to the combined flux of positrons and electrons) in the energy range 0.5 to 350 GeV  At energies greater than 250 GeV, the spectrum appears to flatten but to study the behavior above 250 GeV requires more statistics – the data reported represents ~10% of the total expected.

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