Direct limits for scalar field dark matter from a gravitational-wave detector

Vermeulen, S. M. et al. (2021) Direct limits for scalar field dark matter from a gravitational-wave detector. Nature, 600(7889), pp. 424-428. (doi: 10.1038/s41586-021-04031-y)

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Abstract: The nature of dark matter remains unknown to date, although several candidate particles are being considered in a dynamically changing research landscape1. Scalar field dark matter is a prominent option that is being explored with precision instruments, such as atomic clocks and optical cavities2–8. Here we describe a direct search for scalar field dark matter using a gravitational-wave detector, which operates beyond the quantum shot-noise limit. We set new upper limits on the coupling constants of scalar field dark matter as a function of its mass, by excluding the presence of signals that would be produced through the direct coupling of this dark matter to the beam splitter of the GEO600 interferometer. These constraints improve on bounds from previous direct searches by more than six orders of magnitude and are, in some cases, more stringent than limits obtained in tests of the equivalence principle by up to four orders of magnitude. Our work demonstrates that scalar field dark matter can be investigated or constrained with direct searches using gravitational-wave detectors and highlights the potential of quantum-enhanced interferometry for dark matter detection.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:The authors are grateful for support from the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), grants ST/T006331/1, ST/I006285/1 and ST/L000946/1, the Leverhulme Trust, grant RPG-2019-022, and the universities of Cardiff and Glasgow in the UK, the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, the state of Lower Saxony in Germany, the Max Planck Society, Leibniz Universität Hannover and Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) under Germany’s Excellence Strategy EXC-2123 QuantumFrontiers 390837967. This work was also partly supported by DFG grant SFB/Transregio 7 on Gravitational Wave Astronomy.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Sorazu Lucio, Dr Borja and Strain, Professor Kenneth
Authors: Vermeulen, S. M., Relton, P., Grote, H., Raymond, V., Affeldt, C., Bergamin, F., Bisht, A., Brinkmann, M., Danzmann, K., Doravari, S., Kringel, V., Lough, J., Lück, H., Mehmet, M., Mukund, N., Nadji, S., Schreiber, E., Sorazu Lucio, B., Strain, K. A., Vahlbruch, H., Weinert, M., Willke, B., and Wittel, H.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Physics and Astronomy
Journal Name:Nature
Publisher:Nature Research
ISSN (Online):1476-4687
Published Online:15 December 2021
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 The Authors
First Published:First published in Nature 600(7889): 424-428
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
169451Investigations in Gravitational RadiationSheila RowanScience and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)ST/L000946/1P&S - Physics & Astronomy