Resolving this problem, often called the cosmological constant problem, has so far eluded theorists.

Now, two physicists -- Lawrence Krauss of Arizona State University and James Dent of the University of Louisiana-Lafayette -- suggest that the recently discovered Higgs boson could provide a possible "portal" to physics that could help explain some of the attributes of the enigmatic dark energy, and help resolve the cosmological constant problem.

In their paper, "Higgs Seesaw Mechanism as a Source for Dark Energy," Krauss and Dent explore how a possible small coupling between the Higgs particle, and possible new particles likely to be associated with what is conventionally called the Grand Unified Scale -- a scale perhaps 16 orders of magnitude smaller than the size of a proton, at which the three known non-gravitational forces in nature might converge into a single theory -- could result in the existence of another background field in nature in addition to the Higgs field, which would contribute an energy density to empty space of precisely the correct scale to correspond to the observed energy density.

The paper was published online, Aug. 9, in Physical Review Letters.