Next-Generation Search for Solar Axion Dark Matter with the International Axion Observatory

Julia Vogel | 17-ERD-030


The discovery of the Higgs boson–an elementary particle theorized to be the building block of the universe–experimentally confirmed the Standard Model of particle physics. However, a shortcoming of the Standard Model theory is its silence on the nature of dark matter, a crucial component to the mass of the universe with unknown constituents. Axions are a leading dark matter candidate, but experiments have yet to confirm or refute the existence of these elusive particles. The International Axion Observatory (IAXO) is a multi-national activity to search for and discover the axion.

Our project enabled completion of the layout of the first ever, full-revolution telescope specifically designed for axion research and cutting-edge dark matter science resulting in a leadership role for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in IAXO. We expanded the science reach of IAXO from standard axion searches to new and potentially more exotic opportunities, such as other dark matter candidates, hidden sector particles, and dark energy searches. We also concluded the analysis of axion science data previously collected with Livermore's IAXO pathfinder x-ray telescope at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) by means of the CERN Axion Solar Telescope (CAST) experiment. Moreover, the scientific results of this project helped shape the future activities of IAXO. The science impact and importance of this work is large and resulted in the project PI being peer-elected as a member of the IAXO steering committee and as the Deputy Spokesperson of the experiment.

Impact on Mission

Participation in advanced instrumentation and space science is an important element in Livermore's R&D focus areas of cybersecurity and space security. Next generation capabilities for space security require a trained workforce with demonstrated excellence in designing, fabricating, and performing science with advanced instrumentation. Our work with a Livermore-built x-ray telescope and the design of a next-generation optic for axion dark matter searches using space science technology has established and strengthened the Laboratory's preeminence in particle astrophysics, dark matter research, x-ray optics, and instrumentation technology. The development of advanced x-ray optics supports DOE goals for science and energy and for nuclear security by advancing diagnostics for laser-fusion facilities and for nuclear nonproliferation.

Publications, Presentations, Etc.

Anastassopoulos, V., et al. 2017. "CAST Solar Axion Search Achieves Forefront Sensitivity." Nature 13 (584). LLNL-JRNL-727500.

––– . 2018. "Improved Search for Solar Chameleons with a GridPix Detector at CAST." arXiv. 1808.00066. LLNL-MI-759289.

––– . 2019. "Improved Search for Solar Chameleons with a GridPix Detector at CAST." Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics 01, 032 (2019). LLNL-JRNL-755191.

––– . 2019. "Physics Potential of the International Axion Observatory (IAXO)." Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics 06, 047 (2019). LLNL-JRNL-772500.

Cuendis, et al. 2019. "First Results on the Search for Chameleons with the KWISP Detector at CAST." Physics of the Dark Universe 26, 100367 (2019). LLNL-JRNL-788468.

Giannotti, M., et al. 2019. "IAXO, Next-Generation of Helioscopes." Proceedings of Science , ICHEP2016, 195 (2016). LLNL- JRNL-739048.

Hong, J., et al. 2018. "SmallSat Solar Axion X-Ray Imager (SSAXI)." 32nd Annual AIAA/USU Conference on Small Satellites, Logan, UT, 2018. LLNL-CONF-759341.

Madsen, K., et al. 2018. "Optical Instrument Design of the High-Energy X-Ray Probe (HEX-P)." SPIE Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation, 10699, Austin, TX, June 2018. LLNL-CONF-759339.

Pivovaroff, M. 2017. "US Cosmic Visions: New Ideas in Dark Matter 2017: Community Report." LLNL-PROC-739049.

––– . 2019. "X-Ray Optics Overview for BabyIAXO." 10 th General IAXO Collaboration Meeting, Zaragoza, Spain, October 2019. LLNL-PRES-793012.

Vogel, J. 2019. "Focusing on Axions and ALPs with the New Optics for the International Axion Observatory (IAXO) and BabyIAXO." SPIE Optics and Photonics 2019, San Diego, USA, August 2019. LLNL-POST-782737.

Vogel, J. et al. 2017. "IAXO, Next Generation of Helioscopes." Proceedings of Science . ICHEP2016. 195. LLNL-JRNL-739048.

––– . 2018. "Next Generation Search for Axion and ALP DarkMatter with the International Axion Observatory." IEEE NSS MIC, Sydney, Australia, November 2018. LLNL-PRES-760509. LLNL-PROC-764331.

––– . 2018. "IAXO Optics Development in the US." 8 th General IAXO Collaboration Meeting, CERN, Geneva, Switzerland, September 2018. LLNL-PRES-758435.

––– . 2019. "A Fresh Look at Solar Axions and ALPs Using the Nuclear Spectroscopy Telescope Array (NuSTAR)." 14th Patras Workshop on Axions, WIMPs, and WISPs, Hamburg, Germany, June 2018. LLNL-PRES-752985.

––– . 2019. "BabyIAXO Movement Requirements for Optics." IAXO Steering Committee Meeting, March 2019. LLNL-PRES-771227.

––– . 2019. "(B)IAXO Optics Status Overview." 9 th General IAXO Collaboration Meeting, Paris, France, March 2019. LLNL-PRES-769938.