Spin precession experiments for light axionic dark matter

Peter W. Graham, David E. Kaplan, Jeremy Mardon, Surjeet Rajendran, William A. Terrano, Lutz Trahms, Thomas Wilkason

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Axionlike particles are promising candidates to make up the dark matter of the Universe, but it is challenging to design experiments that can detect them over their entire allowed mass range. Dark matter in general, and, in particular, axionlike particles and hidden photons, can be as light as roughly 10-22 eV (∼10-8 Hz), with astrophysical anomalies providing motivation for the lightest masses ("fuzzy dark matter"). We propose experimental techniques for direct detection of axionlike dark matter in the mass range from roughly 10-13 eV (∼102 Hz) down to the lowest possible masses. In this range, these axionlike particles act as a time-oscillating magnetic field coupling only to spin, inducing effects such as a time-oscillating torque and periodic variations in the spin-precession frequency with the frequency and direction of these effects set by the axion field. We describe how these signals can be measured using existing experimental technology, including torsion pendulums, atomic magnetometers, and atom interferometry. These experiments demonstrate a strong discovery capability, with future iterations of these experiments capable of pushing several orders of magnitude past current astrophysical bounds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number056013
JournalPhysical Review D
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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