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Tachyons  

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: Live Science

 Context: A new paper suggests that the universe may be dominated by particles called tachyons, which move faster than light.

 

About Tachyons: 

They are hypothetical subatomic particles that move faster than the speed of light. Coined by physicist Gerald Feinberg in 1967, they’re distinct from bradyons, which travel slower than light. While bradyons include familiar particles like protons and electrons, tachyons have never been observed. Tachyons violate known principles like causality and are proposed as a potential explanation for dark matter.

 

According to special relativity, particles with mass can’t exceed light speed in a vacuum due to infinite energy. Tachyons, however, are believed to have imaginary mass, allowing faster-than-light travel without violating known physics laws. They would slow down with energy gain and accelerate with energy loss.

 

Experiments using cerenkov detectors have attempted to detect tachyons by measuring particles’ speeds in mediums, where they could exceed light speed, causing cerenkov radiation, akin to a sonic boom or ship bow shock wave.