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Ken Van Tilburg

Looking for scalar dark matter with rods and clocks

Mar. 7, 2016

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Abstract: If the dark matter is made up of a bosonic particle, it can be ultralight, with a mass potentially much below 1 eV. Well-known DM candidates of this type include pseudoscalars like the QCD axion, and vectors such as hidden photons kinetically mixed with the Standard Model. Moduli, even-parity scalars with nonderivative couplings to the SM, can also be light dark matter. I will show that they cause tiny fractional oscillations of SM parameters, such as the electron mass and the fine-structure constant, in turn modulating length and time scales of atoms. Rods and clocks, used in gedanken experiments in relativity, have since transformed into actual precision instruments. The size of acoustic resonators and the frequency of optical clocks can now be measured to 1 part in 10^23 and 10^18, respectively, and thus constitute sensitive probes of moduli.
In this talk, I will give an overview of the parameter space of modulus dark matter, and discuss the sensitivity of the proposed experiments compared to existing constraints from fifth-force tests.

Time: 1:30pm-2:30pm

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