New atomic device to search exotic phys

New Atomic Device to Search for Exotic Physical Interactions at Submillimeter Range

image: Schematic of a co-magnetometer. To the right is a cell with atoms, and to the left is a nearby mass.
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Credit: Image by SHENG Dong and LU Zhengtian’s team

A research group led by Prof. SHENG Dong and Prof. LU Zhengtian of the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences has developed a high-precision xenon co-magnetometer.

They used this atomic device to search for new physics outside the Standard Model, and the null result of the study implies new upper bounds for the monopole-dipole interactions in the submillimeter range.

The work has been published in Physical Assessment Letters on June 10.

In a co-magnetometer, by measuring the spin precession signals of two different types of atoms cohabiting in the same cell, researchers can remove the dominant effects due to the magnetic fields and investigate monopole-dipole interactions between atomic spins and a nearby mass. .

In this study, the researchers used xenon-129 and xenon-131 in the cell of a co-magnetometer. The cell also consisted of rubidium atoms, polarized by laser, and then the rubidium atoms polarized the xenon atoms via collision. Rubidium atoms were also used to indicate the precessions of the xenon isotypes.

However, previous studies have shown that rubidium atoms have systematic effects on the measurement and affect the precision. To avoid the effect, the researchers developed a procedure to suppress the effects of polarized rubidium atoms on the precession xenon nuclei.

Thanks to these advances in the co-magnetometer, the precise measurements resulted in new upper bounds for the strength of monopole-dipole interactions over the range of 0.11 – 0.55 cm, which corresponds to an axion mass range of 0.36 – 1. 80 meV/c2† In particular, the bond is improved over previous works by a factor of 30 at the 0.24 mm interaction range.

The monopole-dipole interactions are believed to be mediated by axions, hypothetical particles outside the Standard Model. Axions are possible sources of the cold matter. By looking for monopole-dipole interactions with higher sensitivity and lower upper bounds, scientists may one day discover the mystery of the universe.

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