Dark matter constitutes one of most challenging problems in physics today. In one sentence, dark matter can be described as some form of matter which is not visible but seems to have a gravitational effect on its environment. There are, however, many observations pointing to its existence today, including gravitational lensing studies and the observations of galactic rotational curves.
One of the proposed models to describe the nature of this dark matter speaks of a weakly interacting massive particle, or WIMP, which may annihilate when encountering an identical particle and thereby producing a multitude of secondary particles. The secondary particles can be observed by conventional means and there are today many experiments seeking to do so. One of them is the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, which is a detector that was designed to measure gamma-rays from space and is currently in orbit around the Earth. The idea is to use this instrument to try to detect the photons at gamma-ray energies that come from dark matter annihilations, assuming this process occurs in space.
In many of the models describing the nature of the proposed particle dark matter, a direct channel from two WIMPs to two gamma-ray photons is included. The photons would have an energy equal to the mass of the WIMP and would therefore produce a clear feature in the form of a spectral line in the overall energy spectrum from gamma-rays. If such a feature could be seen it would represent one of the strongest evidences for dark matter, since no other astrophysical source should be able to produce it.
My research is about trying to find this signal in the data taken by the Fermi satellite.