New ideas in low-energy tests of fundamental physics
Ultra-light axions (ULAs) with masses in the range 1e-33 eV1e-24 eV, ruling out ULA dark matter in the simplest inflationary scenarios over the entire range considered, as well as the "anthropic window" for the QCD axion.
I will review the theoretical motivations for axion and axion-like-particles. I will then discuss bounds on such particles and highlight ways to experimentally probe them.
The recently reported evidence for the cosmic microwave background signature of inflationary gravitational waves is very tantalizing. I will discuss how the measurement is done, the evidence presented by BICEP2, the interpretation, and some of the criticisms of the arguments presented by BICEP2 that the signal is not dust-dominated. I will then review next steps to be taken with future CMB experiments and with galaxy surveys.
The simplicity of the atomic structure of lithium has long made it a system of theoretical interest. With the development of stabilized optical frequency combs, it is possible to achieve experimental accuracies that provide significant tests of atomic theory calculations as well as a window into nuclear structure. I will discuss an ongoing experimental effort at Oberlin College to measure the energy levels of lithium using a stabilized optical frequency comb.
By combining precision metrology and quantum networks, we describe a quantum, cooperative protocol for the operation of a network consisting of geographically remote optical atomic clocks. Using non-local entangled states, we demonstrate an optimal utilization of the global network resources, and show that such a network can be operated near the fundamental limit set by quantum theory yielding an ultra-precise clock signal.
I will review why the mild acceleration of the Universe poses a major puzzle, the Cosmological Constant Problem, for the connection between gravity and matter, suggesting a possible breakdown in the standard general relativistic and field theoretic description. Thus far theorists have failed to provide any very concrete and testable resolution. I will however discuss some simple theoretical ideas that suggest directions for experiments to lead the way.
High-Q resonant sensors enable ultra-sensitive force and field detection. In this talk I will describe three applications of these sensors in searches for new physics. First I will discuss our experiment which uses laser-cooled optically trapped silica microspheres to search for violations of the gravitational inverse square law at micron distances . I will explain how similar sensors could be used for gravitational wave detection at high frequencies .
The EotWash group at the University of Washington has developed a set of torsion balance
instruments to probe the properties of gravity and to search for new weak forces. Current efforts
focus on improved tests of the principle of equivalence, the inverse square law at short distances,
and spin-coupled interactions. These experiments and prospects for the future will be discussed.
Some theories predict a short-range component to the gravitational force, typically modeled as a Yukawa modification of the gravitational potential. This force is usually detected by measuring the motion of a mechanical oscillator driven by an external mass. In this talk I will discuss such an apparatus optimized for use in the 10-100 micron distance range. The setup consists of a cantilever-style silicon nitride oscillator suspended above a rotating drive mass.