Start of most sensitive search yet for dark matter axion

It is the world’s first and only experiment to have achieved the necessary sensitivity to “hear” the telltale signs of dark matter axions.


Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley have recently developed low-noise superconducting quantum amplifiers through which, they are embarking the most sensitive search yet for axions, one of today’s top candidates for dark matter.

The Axion Dark Matter Experiment (ADMX) announced outcomes today demonstrating that it is the world’s first and final trial to have accomplished the fundamental affectability to “hear” the indications of dim issue axions.

The point of reference is the aftereffect of over 30 years of innovative work, with the most recent bit of the bewilder coming as a quantum gadget that enables ADMX to tune in for axions more intently than any investigation at any point assembled.

John Clarke, a teacher of material science in the master’s level college at UC Berkeley and a pioneer in the improvement of delicate attractive finders called SQUIDs (superconducting quantum obstruction gadgets), built up the enhancer two decades back. ADMX researchers, with Clarke’s information, have now fused it into the ADMX identifier at the University of Washington, Seattle, and are good to go.

A cutaway rendering of the ADMX detector, which can detect axions producing photons within its cold, dark interior. ADMX collaboration
A cutaway rendering of the ADMX detector, which can detect axions producing photons within its cold, dark interior. ADMX collaboration

Clarke said, “ADMX is a complicated and quite expensive piece of machinery, so it took a while to build a suitable detector so that they could put the SQUID amplifier on it and demonstrate that it worked as advertised. Which it did.”

Andrew Sonnenschein at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) in Batavia, Illinois, the operations manager for ADMX said, “This result signals the start of the true hunt for axions. If dark matter axions exist within the frequency band we will be probing for the next few years, then it’s only a matter of time before we find them.”

Axions are turning into the favored option, to some degree in light of the fact that their reality would likewise take care of issues with the standard model of molecule material science today, including the way that the neutron ought to have an electric dipole minute, yet doesn’t.

Like other dim issue hopefuls, axions are all over yet hard to recognize. Since they connect with a common issue so once in a while, they stream through space, notwithstanding going through the Earth, without “touching” conventional issue. ADMX utilizes a solid attractive field and a tuned, intelligent box to urge axions to change over to microwave-recurrence photons, and utilization the quantum speaker to “tune in” for them. This is done at the most minimal conceivable temperature to diminish foundation clamor.

Clarke scholarly of a key hindrance for ADMX in 1994, when meeting with physicist Leslie Rosenberg, now an educator at the University of Washington and boss researcher for ADMX, and Karl van Bibber, now the seat of UC Berkeley’s Department of Nuclear Engineering. Since the axion flag would be exceptionally blackout, any locator would need to be extremely chilly and “calm.”

Noise from warmth, or warm radiation, is anything but difficult to kill by chilling the identifier off to 0.1 Kelvin, or around 460 degrees underneath zero Fahrenheit. In any case, dispensing with the clamor from standard semiconductor transistor speakers demonstrated troublesomely.

The ADMX team published their results online today in the journal Physical Review Letters.

Though he had built SQUID amplifiers that worked up to 100 MHz frequencies, none worked at the gigahertz frequencies needed, so he set to work to build one. By 1998, he and his collaborators had solved the problem, thanks in large part to initial funding from the National Science Foundation and subsequent funding from the Department of Energy (DOE) through Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The amplifiers on ADMX were funded by DOE through the University of Washington.

Clarke and his colleagues demonstrated that cooled to temperatures of several millikelvins above total zero, the Microstrip SQUID Amplifier (MSA) could accomplish a clamor that was quantumly constrained, that is, restricted just by Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle.

“You can’t improve the situation than that,” Clarke said.

This significantly calmer innovation joined with the refrigeration unit, decreased the clamor by a factor of around 30 at 600 MHz so a flag from the axion if there is one, should come through noisy and clear. The MSA presently in a task on ADMX was manufactured by Gene Hilton at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, Colorado, and tried, adjusted and bundled via Sean O’Kelley, a graduate understudy in Clarke’s examination bunch at UC Berkeley.

The ADMX group wants to gradually tune through a large number of frequencies with expectations of hearing a reasonable tone from photons delivered by axion rot.

Rosenberg said, “This result plants a flag. It tells the world that we have the sensitivity, and have a very good shot at finding the axion. No new technology is needed. We don’t need a miracle anymore, we just need the time.”


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