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Search for Dark matter using atomic physics methods

Event Details

Event Dates: 

Monday, September 18, 2017 - 10:00am

Seminar Location: 

  • Other

Seminar Location Other: 

NIST, Bldg 81, Room 1A116*

Speaker Name(s): 

Victor Flambaum

Speaker Affiliation(s): 

University of New South Wales
Seminar Type/Subject

Scientific Seminar Type: 

  • Other

Seminar Type Other: 

NIST Seminar

Event Details & Abstract: 

*Anyone wishing to attend this seminar on the NIST campus MUST contact Katy Stephenson at kathryn.stephenson@nist.gov to be provided site access, no later than Friday, September 15.

Low-mass boson dark matter particles produced after Big Bang form classical field and/or topological defects. In contrast to traditional dark matter searches, effects produced by interaction of an ordinary matter with this field and defects may be first power in the underlying interaction strength rather than the second power or higher (which appears in a traditional search for the dark matter)  This may give an enormous advantage since the dark matter interaction constant is extremely small.

Interaction between the density of the dark matter particles and ordinary matter produces both ‘slow’ cosmological evolution and oscillating variations of the fundamental constants including the fine structure constant alpha and particle masses. Atomic Dy, Rb and Cs spectroscopy measurements and the primordial helium abundance data allowed us to improve on existing constraints on interactions of the scalar dark matter with the photon, electron, quarks and Higgs boson by up to 15 orders of magnitude. Limits on the linear and and quadratic interactions of the dark matter with W and Z bosons have been obtained for the first time.

In addition to traditional methods to search for the variation of the fundamental constants (atomic clocks, quasar spectra, Big Bang Nucleosynthesis, etc) we discuss variations in phase shifts produced in laser/maser interferometers such as giant LIGO and the table-top silicon cavity.

Other effects of dark matter and dark energy include apparent violation of the fundamental symmetries: oscillating or transient atomic electric dipole moments, precession of electron and nuclear spins about the direction of Earth’s motion through an axion condensate (the axion wind effect), and axion-mediated spin-gravity couplings, violation of Lorentz symmetry and Einstein equivalence principle.

Finally, we explore a possibility to explain the DAMA collaboration claim of dark matter detection by the dark matter scattering on electrons. We have shown that the electron relativistic effects increase the ionization differential cross section up to 3 orders of magnitude.