Searching for ultra-light dark matter with atomic spectroscopy

P. Wolf, R. Alonso, D. Blas

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paperpeer-review


Dark matter (DM) could have a mass anywhere from that of ultralight candidates, mχ ∼ 1022 eV, to scales well above the GeV. Conventional laboratory searches are sensitive to a range of masses close to the weak scale, while new techniques are required to explore candidates outside this realm. In particular lighter candidates are difficult to detect due to their small momentum. Here we study two experimental set-ups which do not require transfer of momentum to detect dark matter: atomic clocks and co-magnetometers. These experiments probe dark matter that couples to the standard matter via the very precise measurement of the energy difference between atomic states. Our contribution is a very brief summary of work on this subject that we carried out over the last two years and that is published in two recent articles 1,2. The first one 1 treats the general case of any type of particle DM that couples differently to the two atomic states in a clock. The second one 2 considers a particular class of DM models, where DM couples to the spin of the atomic states in clocks or magnetometers. We find that the constraints from current atomic clocks and co-magnetometers can be competitive in the mass range mχ ∼ 1022 − 103 eV, depending on the model.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 54th Rencontres de Moriond - 2019 Gravitation
EditorsEtienne Auge, Jacques Dumarchez, Jean Tran Thanh Van
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9791096879106
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019
Event54th Rencontres de Moriond on Gravitation 2019 - La Thuile, Italy
Duration: 23 Mar 201930 Mar 2019

Publication series

NameProceedings of the 54th Rencontres de Moriond - 2019 Gravitation


Conference54th Rencontres de Moriond on Gravitation 2019
CityLa Thuile


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