Pirates and Axions

Nowadays elementary particle people can be compared with pirates. All of them are searching for some treasure (aka particle, new physics… ). Many of them claim top have some map, but certainly not written by those who have buried the treasure. Whatsoever, because the world is quite simple , one-dimensional (energy), there are guys who climb the hills to search places nobody has seen so far.

But yesterday in the gauge theory seminar we had a talk of Andreas Ringwald, who belongs to the other species of pirates, which don’t care about maps. He s one of the guys who dig deep, hoping for some unexpected find.

To abandon the annoying image: Ringwald scans the low energy regime (sub eV) to find some evidence of new particles, axions or ALPs (axion like particles). Axions are weak coupling neutral particles which can be produced by high energetic photons and decay into photons if they are exposed to a strong magnetic field.

And what he did has drawn some attention, because he used a rejected HERA magnet for his experiments and a few years ago some italians said they saw something (they dismissed it later). He even was mentioned by the german press .

But a bunch of new experiments will dig deeper and Ringwald puts a lot of enthusiasm into this idea. For example one of his experiments measures “light shining through a wall”: you shoot a laser beam through a magnetic field, possibly creating axions. After that you place a wall. It should not affect the axions, but the light. Then, again, a strong magnetic field to give them the chance to decay into photons, which could be measured.

And, if it works, he will try to make it even bigger and build a radio, sending through the earth.


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