Graduate Lunch Talk: Benjamin Brubaker, Yale Physics, “Searching for axion dark matter – particle physics at the yoctowatt scale”

Event time: 
Thursday, December 15, 2016 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Sloane Physics Laboratory (SPL), 3rd Floor Lounge See map
217 Prospect St.
New Haven, CT 06511
(Location is wheelchair accessible)
Event description: 

The nature of dark matter is one of the largest outstanding questions in particle physics, and the axion, a hypothetical boson originally postulated to explain the startling absence of CP violation in the strong interactions, is widely considered one of the best motivated candidates. The axion’s extremely low mass (<1meV), weak coupling to standard model fields (1 yoctowatt=10^-24 W!) and low velocity motivates detectors which are very unusual from the standpoint of experimental particle physics; in particular, tabletop experiments using intense magnetic fields, resonant cavities, and extremely sensitive microwave-frequency detectors offer the best hope of observing axion dark matter.

In this talk I will briefly motivate both the dark matter problem and the origins of axions, introduce the basic principles of microwave cavity detectors, and discuss my work with such a detector sited in the Wright Lab on Yale’s campus (including the first physics results, obtained in summer 2016).