Charge exchange in galaxy clusters [HEAP]

Though theoretically expected, the charge exchange emission from galaxy clusters has not yet been confidently detected. Accumulating hints were reported recently, including a rather marginal detection with the Hitomi data of the Perseus cluster. As suggested in Gu et al. (2015), a detection of charge exchange line emission from galaxy clusters would not only impact the interpretation of the newly-discovered 3.5 keV line, but also open up a new research topic on the interaction between hot and cold matter in clusters. We aim to perform the most systematic search for the O VIII charge exchange line in cluster spectra using the RGS on board XMM. We introduce a sample of 21 clusters observed with the RGS. The dominating thermal plasma emission is modeled and subtracted with a two-temperature CIE component, and the residuals are stacked for the line search. The systematic uncertainties in the fits are quantified by refitting the spectra with a varying continuum and line broadening. By the residual stacking, we do find a hint of a line-like feature at 14.82 A, the characteristic wavelength expected for oxygen charge exchange. This feature has a marginal significance of 2.8 sigma, and the average equivalent width is 2.5E-4 keV. We further demonstrate that the putative feature can be hardly affected by the systematic errors from continuum modelling and instrumental effects, or the atomic uncertainties of the neighbouring thermal lines. Assuming a realistic temperature and abundance pattern, the physical model implied by the possible oxygen line agrees well with the theoretical model proposed previously to explain the reported 3.5 keV line. If the charge exchange source indeed exists, we would expect that the oxygen abundance is potentially overestimated by 8-22% in previous X-ray measurements which assumed pure thermal lines.

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L. Gu, J. Mao, J. Plaa, et. al.
Mon, 16 Oct 17

Comments: accepted for publication in A&A

Searching for axion stars and Q-balls with a terrestrial magnetometer network [CL]

Light (pseudo-)scalar fields are promising candidates to be the dark matter in the Universe. Under certain initial conditions in the early Universe and/or with certain types of self-interactions, they can form compact dark-matter objects such as axion stars or Q-balls. Direct encounters with such objects can be searched for by using a global network of atomic magnetometers. It is shown that for a range of masses and radii not ruled out by existing observations, the terrestrial encounter rate with axion stars or Q-balls can be sufficiently high (at least once per year) for a detection. Furthermore, it is shown that a global network of atomic magnetometers is sufficiently sensitive to pseudoscalar couplings to atomic spins so that a transit through an ALP star or Q-ball could be detected over a broad range of unexplored parameter space.

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D. Kimball, D. Budker, J. Eby, et. al.
Fri, 13 Oct 17

Comments: 8 pages, 3 figures

Resonant Electron Impact Excitation of 3d levels in Fe$^{14+}$ and Fe$^{15+}$ [SSA]

We present laboratory spectra of the $3p$–$3d$ transitions in Fe$^{14+}$ and Fe$^{15+}$ excited with a mono-energetic electron beam. In the energy dependent spectra obtained by sweeping the electron energy, resonant excitation is confirmed as an intensity enhancement at specific electron energies. The experimental results are compared with theoretical cross sections calculated based on fully relativistic wave functions and the distorted-wave approximation. Comparisons between the experimental and theoretical results show good agreement for the resonance strength. A significant discrepancy is, however, found for the non-resonant cross section in Fe$^{14+}$, which can be considered as a fundamental cause of the line intensity ratio problem that has often been found in both observatory and laboratory measurements.

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T. Tsuda, E. Shimizu, S. Ali, et. al.
Wed, 11 Oct 17

Comments: N/A

Localizing Gravitational Wave Sources with Single-Baseline Atom Interferometers [CL]

Localizing sources on the sky is crucial for realizing the full potential of gravitational waves for astronomy, astrophysics, and cosmology. We show that the mid-frequency band, roughly 0.03 to 10 Hz, has significant potential for angular localization. The angular location is measured through the changing Doppler shift as the detector orbits the Sun. This band maximizes the effect since these are the highest frequencies in which sources live several months. Atom interferometer detectors can observe in the mid-frequency band, and even with just a single baseline can exploit this effect for sensitive angular localization. The single baseline orbits around the Earth and the Sun, causing it to reorient and change position significantly during the lifetime of the source, and making it similar to having multiple baselines/detectors. For example, atomic detectors could predict the location of upcoming black hole or neutron star merger events with sufficient accuracy to allow optical and other electromagnetic telescopes to observe these events simultaneously. Thus, mid-band atomic detectors are complementary to other gravitational wave detectors and will help complete the observation of a broad range of the gravitational spectrum.

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P. Graham and S. Jung
Wed, 11 Oct 17

Comments: 16 pages, 3 figures, 2 tables

Near L-Edge Single and Multiple Photoionization of Singly Charged Iron Ions [IMA]

Absolute cross sections for m-fold photoionization (m=1,…,6) of Fe+ by a single photon were measured employing the photon-ion merged-beams setup PIPE at the PETRA III synchrotron light source, operated by DESY in Hamburg, Germany. Photon energies were in the range 680-920 eV which covers the photoionization resonances associated with 2p and 2s excitation to higher atomic shells as well as the thresholds for 2p and 2s ionization. The corresponding resonance positions were measured with an uncertainty of +- 0.2 eV. The cross section for Fe+ photoabsorption is derived as the sum of the individually measured cross-sections for m-fold ionization. Calculations of the Fe+ absorption cross sections have been carried out using two different theoretical approaches, Hartree-Fock including relativistic extensions and fully relativistic Multi-Configuration Dirac Fock. Apart from overall energy shifts of up to about 3 eV, the theoretical cross sections are in good agreement with each other and with the experimental results. In addition, the complex deexcitation cascades after the creation of inner-shell holes in the Fe+ ion have been tracked on the atomic fine-structure level. The corresponding theoretical results for the product charge-state distributions are in much better agreement with the experimental data than previously published configuration-average results. The present experimental and theoretical results are valuable for opacity calculations and are expected to pave the way to a more accurate determination of the iron abundance in the interstellar medium.

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S. Schippers, M. Martins, R. Beerwerth, et. al.
Wed, 27 Sep 2017

Comments: 18 pages, 10 figures, 4 tables, accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal

Spin Precession Experiments for Light Axionic Dark Matter [CL]

Axion-like 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 axion-like particles and hidden photons, can be as light as roughly $10^{-22} \;\rm{eV}$ ($\sim 10^{-8} \;\rm{Hz}$), with astrophysical anomalies providing motivation for the lightest masses (“fuzzy dark matter”). We propose experimental techniques for direct detection of axion-like dark matter in the mass range from roughly $10^{-13} \;\rm{eV}$ ($\sim 10^2 \;\rm{Hz}$) down to the lowest possible masses. In this range, these axion-like 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 set by fundamental physics. We show 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.

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P. Graham, D. Kaplan, J. Mardon, et. al.
Mon, 25 Sep 2017

Comments: 18 pages, 4 figures

High-resolution one-photon absorption spectroscopy of the $D\,{}^2Σ^- \leftarrow X\,{}^2Π$ system of radical OH and OD [CL]

Vacuum-ultraviolet (VUV) photoabsorption spectra were recorded of the $A\,{}^2\Sigma^+(v’=0)\leftarrow{}X\,{}^2\Pi(v”=0)$, $D\,{}^2\Sigma^-(v’=0)\leftarrow{}X\,{}^2\Pi(v”=0)$ and $D\,{}^2\Sigma^-(v’=1)\leftarrow{}X\,{}^2\Pi(v”=0)$ bands of the OH and OD radicals generated in a plasma-discharge source using synchrotron radiation as a background continuum coupled with the VUV Fourier-transform spectrometer on the DESIRS beamline of synchrotron SOLEIL. High-resolution spectra permitted the quantification of transition frequencies, relative $f$-values, and natural line broadening. The $f$-values were absolutely calibrated with respect to a previous measurement of $A\,{}^2\Sigma^+(v’=0)\leftarrow{}X\,{}^2\Pi(v”=0)$ ([wang1979]). Lifetime broadening of the excited $D\,{}^2\Sigma^-(v=0)$ and $D\,{}^2\Sigma^-(v=1)$ levels is measured for the first time and compared with previous experimental limits, and implies a lifetime 5 times shorter than a theoretical prediction ([van_der_loo2005]). A local perturbation of the $D\,{}^2\Sigma^-(v=0)$ level in OH was found.

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A. Heays, N. Oliveira, B. Gans, et. al.
Mon, 11 Sep 17

Comments: N/A