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Constraining fundamental constant variations from ultralight dark matter with pulsar timing arrays

Kaplan, David E. and Mitridate, Andrea and Trickle, Tanner (2022) Constraining fundamental constant variations from ultralight dark matter with pulsar timing arrays. Physical Review D, 106 (3). Art. No. 035032. ISSN 2470-0010. doi:10.1103/physrevd.106.035032.

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Pulsar timing arrays (PTAs) are exceptionally sensitive detectors in the frequency band nHz ≲ f ≲ μHz. Ultralight dark matter (ULDM), with mass in the range 10⁻²³ eV ≲ m_ϕ ≲ 10⁻²⁰ eV, is one class of DM models known to generate signals in this frequency window. While purely gravitational signatures of ULDM have been studied previously, in this work we consider two signals in PTAs which arise in the presence of direct couplings between ULDM and ordinary matter. These couplings induce variations in fundamental constants, i.e., particle masses and couplings. These variations can alter the moment of inertia of pulsars, inducing pulsar spin fluctuations via conservation of angular momentum, or induce apparent timing residuals due to reference clock shifts. By using mock data mimicking current PTA datasets, we show that PTA experiments outperform torsion balance and atomic clock constraints for ULDM coupled to electrons, muons, or gluons. In the case of coupling to quarks or photons, we find that PTAs and atomic clocks set similar constraints. Additionally, we discuss how future PTAs can further improve these constraints, and detail the unique properties of these signals relative to the previously studied effects of ULDM on PTAs.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription
Mitridate, Andrea0000-0003-2898-5844
Trickle, Tanner0000-0003-1371-4988
Additional Information:We thank Stephen Taylor for patiently helping us with enterprise, as well as giving valuable feedback on the manuscript. We also thank Jim Cordes for helpful comments, and Yufeng Du, Ryan Janish, and Vincent S. H. Lee for useful discussions. D. K. was supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. PHY-1818899. A. M. and T. T. were supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of High Energy Physics, under Award No. DE-SC0021431, and the Quantum Information Science Enabled Discovery (QuantISED) for High Energy Physics (KA2401032). The computations presented here were conducted in the Resnick High Performance Computing Center, a facility supported by Resnick Sustainability Institute at the California Institute of Technology.
Group:Resnick Sustainability Institute, Walter Burke Institute for Theoretical Physics
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Department of Energy (DOE)DE-SC0021431
Department of Energy (DOE)KA2401032
Resnick Sustainability InstituteUNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:3
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20221010-454096500.7
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:117293
Deposited By: Research Services Depository
Deposited On:14 Oct 2022 21:01
Last Modified:14 Oct 2022 21:01

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