Possible resonance effect of dark matter axions in SNS Josephson junctions [CL]


Dark matter axions can generate peculiar effects in special types of Josephson junctions, so-called SNS junctions. One can show that the axion field equations in a Josephson environment allow for very small oscillating supercurrents, which manifest themselves as a tiny wiggle in the I-V curve, a so-called Shapiro step, which occurs at a frequency given by the axion mass. The effect is very small but perfectly measurable in modern nanotechnological devices. In this paper I will summarize the theory and then present evidence that candidate Shapiro steps of this type have indeed been seen in several independent condensed matter experiments. Assuming the observed tiny Shapiro steps are due to axion flow then these data point to an axion mass of $(106 \pm 6)\mu$eV, consistent with what is expected for the QCD axion. In addition to the above small Shapiro resonance effects at frequencies in the GHz region one also expects to see broad-band noise effects at much lower frequencies. Overall this approach provides a novel pathway for the future design of new types of axionic dark matter detectors. The resonant Josephson data summarized in this paper are consistent with a ‘vanilla’ axion with a coupling constant $f_a=\sqrt{v_{EW}m_{Pl}}=5.48 \cdot 10^{10}$GeV given by the geometric average of the electroweak symmetry breaking scale $v_{EW}$ and the Planck mass $m_{Pl}$.

Read this paper on arXiv…

C. Beck
Fri, 13 Oct 17

Comments: Based on talk given at the EPS Conference on High Energy Physics, 5-12 July 2017 Venice. 6 pages, 1 figure