Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

The .gov means it’s official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.

Https

The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

First observation with global network of optical atomic clocks aimed for a dark matter detection

Published

Author(s)

P. Wcislo, P. Ablewski, Kyle P. Beloy, S. Bilicki, M. Bober, Roger C. Brown, Robert J. Fasano, R. Ciurylo, H. Hachisu, T. Ido, J. Lodewyck, Andrew D. Ludlow, William F. McGrew, P. Morzynski, Daniele Nicolodi, Marco Schioppo, M. Sekido, R. Le Targat, P. Wolf, Xiaogang Zhang, B. Zjawin, M. Zawada

Abstract

We report on the first earth-scale quantum sensor network based on optical atomic clocks aimed at dark matter (DM) detection. Exploiting differences in the susceptibilities to the fine- structure constant of essential parts of an optical atomic clock, i.e. the cold atoms and the optical reference cavity, we can perform sensitive searches for dark matter signatures without the need of real-time comparisons of the clocks. We report a two orders of magnitude improvement in constraints on transient variations of the fine-structure constant, which considerably improves the detection limit for the standard model (SM) - DM coupling. We use Yb and Sr optical atomic clocks at four laboratories on three continents to search for both topological defect (TD) and massive scalar field candidates. No signal consistent with a dark- matter coupling is identified, leading to significantly improved constraints on the DM-SM couplings.
Citation
Science Advances

Keywords

atomic clock, dark matter, fine structure constant, lattice clock, optical clock, strontium, ytterbium
Created January 30, 2019, Updated February 22, 2019