“If you’re puzzled by what dark energy is, you’re in good company.” -Saul Perlmutter
The accelerated expansion of our Universe was one of the biggest surprise discoveries of all-time, and something that still lacks a good physical explanation. While many models of dark energy exist, it remains a completely phenomenological study: everything appears consistent with a cosmological constant, but nothing appears to be a good motivator for why the Universe should have one.
Until now, that is! In a new paper by Fergus Simpson, Raul Jimenez, Carlos Pena-Garay and Licia Verde, they note that any generic scalar field that couples to the neutrino sector would dynamically and stably give rise to a type of dark energy that’s indistinguishable from what we’ve observed. The huge advance is that this scenario doesn’t require any fine-tuning, thanks to this dark energy arising from neutrinos “freezing,” or becoming non-relativistic.
In addition, there are experimental signatures to look for to confirm it, too, in the form of neutrinoless double-beta decay! Go get the whole story on this remarkable new idea over on Forbes today!