University of Washington
Monday, September 13, 2010
Microwave-Cavity Searches for Axions
The axion is a hypothetical elementary particle whose existence would explain the baffling absence of CP violation in the strong interactions. Its properties make it a good dark-matter candidate.
Even though dark-matter axions would make up the overwhelming majority of mass in the universe, they are extraordinarily difficult to detect. However, by threading a high-Q microwave cavity with a large static magnetic field, nearby Milky-Way halo axions are stimulated to convert into microwave power within the cavity. This extremely tiny power could then be detected by sensitive electromagnetic detectors.
Recently, these detectors have improved to where even the more pessimistically-coupled dark-matter axions could be detected.
I will describe the progress made in this experimental search for dark-matter axions.