Physics Colloquium - Hunting the Dark Matter Axion with the ADMX Experiment

Event Date: 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - 4:00pm

Event Location: 

  • Broida 1640


Gianpaolo Carosi, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory



The nature of dark matter is one of the great mysteries of modern physics. Its existence has been inferred by gravitational effects over many distance scales but currently no known particle can account for the observed data. As a result, new particles beyond the standard model have been suggested. The axion, originally conceived as a solution to the strong-CP problem in nuclear physics, is one well motivated candidate. The Axion Dark Matter eXperiment (ADMX), and its sister experiment ADMX-High Frequency (ADMX-HF), are designed to detect axions by using large microwave cavities immersed in a strong magnetic field to resonantly convert the axions into detectable photons.

In this talk I will describe the history of axion searches and the ADMX experiment in particular, which ran at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) for over a decade before being moved to the University of Washington. I will then discuss the upgrades to the ADMX experiment as it prepares for its upcoming search with orders of magnitude greater sensitivity. I will also outline R&D efforts that are currently being undertaken to expand the search range of ADMX further and ultimately determine if axions are, or are not, the major dark matter component of the Universe.