Dissertation Defense: Benjamin Brubaker, Yale University, “First Results from the HAYSTAC axion search”

Event time: 
Tuesday, July 25, 2017 - 10:30am to 11:30am
Sloane Physics Laboratory (SPL) See map
217 Prospect Street
New Haven, CT 06511
Event description: 

The axion is a well-motivated cold dark matter (CDM) candidate first postulated to explain the absence of CP violation in the strong interactions. CDM axions may be detected via their resonant conversion into photons in a “haloscope” detector: a tunable high-Q microwave cavity maintained at cryogenic temperature, immersed a strong magnetic field, and coupled to a low-noise receiver.

This dissertation reports on the design, commissioning, and first operation of the Haloscope at Yale Sensitive to Axion CDM (HAYSTAC), a new detector designed to search for CDM axions with masses above 20 µeV. I also describe the analysis procedure used to derive limits on axion CDM from the first HAYSTAC data run, which excluded axion models with two-photon coupling g_{aγγ} > 2×10^{-14} GeV^{-1}, a factor of 2.3 above the benchmark KSVZ model, over the mass range 23.55 < m_a < 24.0 µeV.

This result represents two important achievements. First, it demonstrates cosmologically relevant sensitivity an order of magnitude higher in mass than any existing direct limits. Second, by incorporating a dilution refrigerator and Josephson parametric amplifier, HAYSTAC has demonstrated total noise approaching the standard quantum limit for the first time in an axion search.