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Dark Matter Searches on a Photonic Chip

Dark Matter (DM) with feeble couplings to electromagnetism can act as a source of laboratory electromagnetic (EM) fields. A classic technique for searching for this effect is the cavity haloscope where a high-quality mode of an EM cavity is excited by the DM if the mode frequency matches the DM mass. For example, the flagship axion DM search, ADMX, uses radio frequency cavities to look for DM with masses at the micro-eV scale. At higher DM masses, the required cavity size becomes prohibitively small. I will review the requirements for implementing efficient DM-photon conversion in a physical system. I will then show that detectors based on integrated photonics (optical and near-infrared waveguides and resonators at the micron scale) provide a new, useful way to search for DM at these higher masses. In particular, I will focus on refractive index-modulated resonators, such as grooved or periodically-poled microrings, or patterned slabs. When excited by the DM, EM modes in these structures can be read out by coupling the resonators to a waveguide that terminates on a micron-scale-sized single photon detector. These types of devices are practically important in, e.g., sensing, telecommunications and quantum information science, allowing us to leverage developments from those fields, including mass production of these structures. Thus, a large number of detectors can be used to implement a very sensitive DM search. Finally, I will estimate the sensitivity of this approach to axion and dark photon DM.

Host: David Curtin
Event series  THEP Events