Constraining spatial variations of the fine-structure constant in symmetron models [CEA]

We introduce a methodology to test models with spatial variations of the fine-structure constant $\alpha$, based on the calculation of the angular power spectrum of these measurements. This methodology enables comparisons of observations and theoretical models through their predictions on the statistics of the $\alpha$ variation. Here we apply it to the case of symmetron models. We find no indications of deviations from the standard behavior, with current data providing an upper limit to the strength of the symmetron coupling to gravity ($\log{\beta^2}<-0.9$) when this is the only free parameter, and not able to constrain the model when also the symmetry breaking scale factor $a_{SSB}$ is free to vary.

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A. Pinho, M. Martinelli and C. Martins
Mon, 24 Apr 17

Comments: Phys. Lett. B (in press)

Phase space mass bound for fermionic dark matter from dwarf spheroidal galaxies [GA]

We reconsider the lower bound on the mass of a fermionic dark matter (DM) candidate resulting from the existence of known small Dwarf Spheroidal galaxies, in the hypothesis that their DM halo is constituted by degenerate fermions, with phase-space density limited by the Pauli exclusion principle. By relaxing the common assumption that the DM halo scale radius is tied to that of the luminous stellar component and by marginalizing on the unknown stellar velocity dispersion anisotropy, we prove that observations lead to rather weak constraints on the DM mass, that could be as low as tens of eV. In this scenario, however, the DM halos would be quite large and massive, so that a bound stems from the requirement that the time of orbital decay due to dynamical friction in the hosting Milky Way DM halo is longer than their lifetime. The smallest and nearest satellites Segue I and Willman I lead to a final lower bound of $m\gtrsim100$ eV, still weaker than previous estimates but robust and independent on the model of DM formation and decoupling. We thus show that phase space constraints do not rule out the possibility of sub-keV fermionic DM.

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C. Paolo, F. Nesti and F. Villante
Mon, 24 Apr 17

Comments: 14 pages

Superradiance in rotating stars and pulsar-timing constraints on dark photons [CL]

In the presence of massive bosonic degrees of freedom, rotational superradiance can trigger an instability that spins down black holes. This leads to peculiar gravitational-wave signatures and distribution in the spin-mass plane, which in turn can impose stringent constraints on ultralight fields. Here, we demonstrate that there is an analogous spindown effect for conducting stars. We show that rotating stars amplify low frequency electromagnetic waves, and that this effect is largest when the time scale for conduction within the star is of the order of a light crossing time. This has interesting consequences for dark photons, as massive dark photons would cause stars to spin down due to superradiant instabilities. The time scale of the spindown depends on the mass of the dark photon, and on the rotation rate, compactness, and conductivity of the star. Existing measurements of the spindown rate of pulsars place direct constraints on models of dark sectors. Our analysis suggests that dark photons of mass $m_V \sim 10^{-12}$ eV are excluded by pulsar-timing observations. These constraints also exclude superradiant instabilities triggered by dark photons as an explanation for the spin limit of observed pulsars.

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V. Cardoso, P. Pani and T. Yu
Fri, 21 Apr 17

Comments: 13 pages, 4 figures

Constraining Anisotropic Lorentz Violation via the Spectral-Lag Transition of GRB 160625B [HEAP]

Violations of Lorentz invariance can lead to an energy-dependent vacuum dispersion of light, which results in arrival-time differences of photons arising with different energies from a given transient source. In this work, direction-dependent dispersion constraints are obtained on nonbirefringent Lorentz-violating operators in effective field theory, using the observed spectral lags of the gamma-ray burst GRB 160625B. This burst has unusually large high-energy photon statistics, so we can obtain constraints from the true spectral time lags of bunches of high-energy photons rather than from the rough time lag of a single highest-energy photon. Also, GRB 160625B is the only burst to date having a well-defined transition from positive lags to negative lags, which provides a unique opportunity to distinguish Lorentz-violating effects from any source-intrinsic time lag in the emission of photons of different energy bands. Our results place comparatively robust two-sided constraints on a variety of isotropic and anisotropic coefficients for Lorentz violation, including first bounds on Lorentz-violating effects from operators of mass dimension ten in the photon sector.

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J. Wei, X. Wu, B. Zhang, et. al.
Fri, 21 Apr 17

Comments: 6 pages, 3 figures, 1 table

A Fresh Approach to Forecasting in Astroparticle Physics and Dark Matter Searches [IMA]

We present a toolbox of new techniques and concepts for the efficient forecasting of experimental sensitivities. These are applicable to a large range of scenarios in (astro-)particle physics, and based on the Fisher information formalism. Fisher information provides an answer to the question what is the maximum extractable information from a given observation?. It is a common tool for the forecasting of experimental sensitivities in many branches of science, but rarely used in astroparticle physics or searches for particle dark matter. After briefly reviewing the Fisher information matrix of general Poisson likelihoods, we propose very compact expressions for estimating expected exclusion and discovery limits (equivalent counts method). We demonstrate by comparison with Monte Carlo results that they remain surprisingly accurate even deep in the Poisson regime. We show how correlated background systematics can be efficiently accounted for by a treatment based on Gaussian random fields. Finally, we introduce the novel concept of Fisher information flux. It can be thought of as a generalization of the commonly used signal-to-noise ratio, while accounting for the non-local properties and saturation effects of background and instrumental uncertainties. It is a powerful and flexible tool ready to be used as core concept for informed strategy development in astroparticle physics and searches for particle dark matter.

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T. Edwards and C. Weniger
Thu, 20 Apr 17

Comments: 19 pages, 12 figures

Axion Like Particles and Recent Observations of the Cosmic Infrared Background Radiation [CL]

The CIBER collaboration released their first observational data of the Cosmic IR background (CIB) radiation, which has significant excesses at around the wavelength $\sim$ 1 $\mu$m compared to theoretically-inferred values. The amount of the CIB radiation has a significant influence on the opaqueness of the Universe for TeV gamma-rays emitted from distant sources such as AGNs. With the value of CIB radiation reported by the CIBER experiment, through the reaction of such TeV gamma-rays with the CIB photons, the TeV gamma-rays should be significantly attenuated during propagation, which would lead to energy spectra in disagreement with current observations of TeV gamma ray sources. In this article, we discuss a possible resolution of this tension between the TeV gamma-ray observations and the CIB data in terms of axion [or Axion-Like Particles (ALPs)] that may increase the transparency of the Universe by the anomaly-induced photon-axion mixing. We find a region in the parameter space of the axion mass, $m_a \sim 5 \times 10^{-10} – 3 \times 10^{-7}$eV, and the axion-photon coupling constant, $1.2 \times 10^{-11} {\rm GeV}^{-1} \lesssim g_{a\gamma} \lesssim 8.8 \times 10^{-10} {\rm GeV}^{-1}$ that solves this problem.

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K. Kohri and H. Kodama
Thu, 20 Apr 17

Comments: 5 pages, 5 figures

Cosmological Horizons, Uncertainty Principle and Maximum Length Quantum Mechanics [CL]

The cosmological particle horizon is the maximum measurable length in the Universe. The existence of such a maximum observable length scale implies a modification of the quantum uncertainty principle. Thus due to non-locality of quantum mechanics, the global properties of the Universe could produce a signature on the behaviour of local quantum systems. A Generalized Uncertainty Principle (GUP) that is consistent with the existence of such a maximum observable length scale $l_{max}$ is $\Delta x \Delta p \geq \frac{\hbar}{2}\;\frac{1}{1-\alpha \Delta x^2}$ where $\alpha = l_{max}^{-2}\simeq (H_0/c)^2$ ($H_0$ is the Hubble parameter and $c$ is the speed of light). In addition to the existence of a maximum measurable length $l_{max}=\frac{1}{\sqrt \alpha}$, this form of GUP implies also the existence of a minimum measurable momentum $p_{min}=\frac{3 \sqrt{3}}{4}\hbar \sqrt{\alpha}$. Using appropriate representation of the position and momentum quantum operators we show that the spectrum of the one dimensional harmonic oscillator becomes $\bar{\mathcal{E}}n=2n+1+\lambda_n \bar{\alpha}$ where $\bar{\mathcal{E}}_n\equiv 2E_n/\hbar \omega$ is the dimensionless properly normalized $n^{th}$ energy level, $\bar{\alpha}$ is a dimensionless parameter with $\bar{\alpha}\equiv \alpha \hbar/m \omega$ and $\lambda_n\sim n^2$ for $n\gg 1$ (we show the full form of $\lambda_n$ in the text). For a typical vibrating diatomic molecule and $l{max}=c/H_0$ we find $\bar{\alpha}\sim 10^{-77}$ and therefore for such a system, this effect is beyond reach of current experiments. However, this effect could be more important in the early universe and could produce signatures in the primordial perturbation spectrum induced by quantum fluctuations of the inflaton field.

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L. Perivolaropoulos
Thu, 20 Apr 17

Comments: 11 pages, 7 Figures. The Mathematica file that was used for the production of the Figures may be downloaded from this http URL