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Parkes Pulsar Timing Array constraints on ultralight scalar-field dark matter

Porayko, Nataliya K. and Ravi, Vikram (2018) Parkes Pulsar Timing Array constraints on ultralight scalar-field dark matter. Physical Review D, 98 (10). Art. No. 102002. ISSN 2470-0010.

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It is widely accepted that dark matter contributes about a quarter of the critical mass-energy density in our Universe. The nature of dark matter is currently unknown, with the mass of possible constituents spanning nearly one hundred orders of magnitude. The ultralight scalar field dark matter, consisting of extremely light bosons with m ∼ 10^(−22)  eV and often called “fuzzy” dark matter, provides intriguing solutions to some challenges at sub-Galactic scales for the standard cold dark matter model. As shown by Khmelnitsky and Rubakov, such a scalar field in the Galaxy would produce an oscillating gravitational potential with nanohertz frequencies, resulting in periodic variations in the times of arrival of radio pulses from pulsars. The Parkes Pulsar Timing Array (PPTA) has been monitoring 20 millisecond pulsars at two- to three-week intervals for more than a decade. In addition to the detection of nanohertz gravitational waves, PPTA offers the opportunity for direct searches for fuzzy dark matter in an astrophysically feasible range of masses. We analyze the latest PPTA data set which includes timing observations for 26 pulsars made between 2004 and 2016. We perform a search in this data set for evidence of ultralight dark matter in the Galaxy using Bayesian and Frequentist methods. No statistically significant detection has been made. We, therefore, place upper limits on the local dark matter density. Our limits, improving on previous searches by a factor of 2 to 5, constrain the dark matter density of ultralight bosons with m ≤ 10^(−23)  eV to be below 6  GeV cm^(−3) with 95% confidence in the Earth neighborhood. Finally, we discuss the prospect of probing the astrophysically favored mass range m ≳ 10^(−22)  eV with next-generation pulsar timing facilities.

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Ravi, Vikram0000-0002-7252-5485
Additional Information:© 2018 American Physical Society. Received 24 May 2018; published 5 November 2018. The Parkes radio telescope is part of the Australia Telescope National Facility which is funded by the Commonwealth of Australia for operation as a National Facility managed by CSIRO. N. K. P. acknowledges the support from IMPRS Bonn/Cologne and the Bonn-Cologne Graduate School (BCGS). X. Z., M. B., D. J. R., R. M. S. and L. W. are supported by ARC CE170100004. X. Z. and L. W. are additionally supported by ARC DP150102988. L. H. is supported in part by NASA NXX16AB27G and DOE DE-SC0011941. Work at N. R. L. is supported by NASA. P. D. L. is supported through ARC FT160100112 and ARC DP180103155. M. B., S. O. and R. S. acknowledge support through the ARC Laureate Fellowship Grant No. FL150100148. J. W. is supported by Qing Cu Hui of Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). We acknowledge the Institute for Theoretical and Experimental Physics and, in particular, Prof. Sergey Blinnikov for providing computing facilities. The authors would like to thank Dr. Maxim Pshirkov, Dr. Mikhail Ivanov, Dr. Nicolas Caballero and Dr. David Champion for fruitful discussions. We would like to thank the anonymous referees for useful comments.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Commonwealth of AustraliaUNSPECIFIED
International Max Planck Research SchoolUNSPECIFIED
Bonn-Cologne Graduate SchoolUNSPECIFIED
Australian Research CouncilCE170100004
Australian Research CouncilDP150102988
Department of Energy (DOE)DE-SC0011941
Australian Research CouncilFT160100112
Australian Research CouncilDP180103155
Australian Research CouncilFL150100148
Chinese Academy of SciencesUNSPECIFIED
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20181106-111133154
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:90669
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:06 Nov 2018 21:51
Last Modified:06 Nov 2018 21:51

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