Skip to main content
Seminar | High Energy Physics Division

Probing the Axiverse with Superconducting Radio-Frequency Cavities

HEP Theory Seminar

Abstract: Light axion-like particles (ALPs) that couple to photons can mediate light-by-light scattering; in classical field theory terms, they induce cubic nonlinearities in Maxwell’s equations. I will describe a new program of proposed experiments to detect ALP-mediated light-by-light scattering that will also be sensitive to the Euler-Heisenberg Lagrangian, the light-by-light scattering process resulting from integrating out the electron in QED. This purely Standard Model effect has never been directly observed at energies below the electron mass. As sensitivity increases, the Euler-Heisenberg Lagrangian may seem to be an irreducible background to ALP searches, but may in fact be tuned away with a suitable choice of electric and magnetic fields in superconducting cavities. The optimistic endpoint of this program may be sensitive to an individual ALP with coupling to photons of 10-12 GeV-1, or equivalently, an axiverse” of 108 light ALPs with decay constants at the renormalized Planck scale. I will briefly comment on the relevance of this experimental program for constraining the landscape of string compactifications