Axion-induced effects and topological defect dark matter detection schemes

Playing this video requires the latest flash player from Adobe.

Download link (right click and 'save-as') for playing in VLC or other compatible player.

Recording Details

PIRSA Number: 


We discuss new observable effects of axionic dark matter in atoms, molecules and nuclei. We show that the interaction of an axion field, or in general a pseudoscalar field, with the axial-vector current generated by an electron through a derivative-type coupling can give rise to a time-dependent mixing of opposite-parity states in atomic and molecular systems. Likewise, the analogous interaction of an axion field with the axial-vector current generated by a nucleon can give rise to time-dependent mixing of opposite-parity states in nuclear systems. This mixing can induce oscillating electric dipole moments, oscillating parity nonconservation effects and oscillating anapole moments in such systems. By adjusting the energy separation between the opposite-parity states of interest to match the axion mass energy, axion-induced experimental observables can be enhanced by many orders of magnitude. Oscillating atomic electric dipole moments can also be generated by axions through hadronic mechanisms, namely the P,T-violating nucleon-nucleon interaction and through the axion-induced electric dipole moments of valence nucleons, which comprise the nuclei. The axion field is modified by Earth’s gravitational field. The interaction of the spin of either an electron or nucleon with this modified axion field leads to axion-induced observable effects. These effects, which are of the form g • σ, differ from the axion-wind effect, which has the form pa • σ.

We also propose schemes for the detection of topological defect dark matter using pulsars and other luminous extraterrestrial systems via non-gravitational signatures. The dark matter field, which makes up a defect, may interact with standard model particles, including quarks and the photon, resulting in the alteration of their masses. When a topological defect passes through a pulsar, its mass, radius and internal structure may be altered, resulting in a pulsar `quake'. A topological defect may also function as a cosmic dielectric material with a frequency-dependent index of refraction, which would give rise to the time delay of a periodic extraterrestrial light or radio signal, and the dispersion of a light or radio source in a similar manner to an optical lens. The biggest advantage of such astrophysical observations over recently proposed terrestrial detection methods is the much higher probability of a defect been found in the vast volumes of outer space compared with one passing through Earth itself.

References: (1) Phys. Rev. D 89, 043522 (2014).
(2) arXiv:1404.2723.
(3) arXiv:1405.5337.