Search for transient variations of the fine structure constant and dark matter using fiber-linked optical atomic clocks

authored by
B. M. Roberts, P. Delva, A. Al-Masoudi, A. Amy-Klein, C. Bærentsen, C. F.A. Baynham, E. Benkler, S. Bilicki, S. Bize, W. Bowden, J. Calvert, V. Cambier, E. Cantin, E. A. Curtis, S. Dörscher, M. Favier, F. Frank, P. Gill, R. M. Godun, G. Grosche, C. Guo, A. Hees, I. R. Hill, R. Hobson, N. Huntemann, J. Kronjäger, S. Koke, A. Kuhl, R. Lange, T. Legero, B. Lipphardt, C. Lisdat, J. Lodewyck, O. Lopez, H. S. Margolis, H. Álvarez-Martínez, F. Meynadier, F. Ozimek, E. Peik, P. E. Pottie, N. Quintin, C. Sanner, L. De Sarlo, M. Schioppo, R. Schwarz, A. Silva, U. Sterr, Chr Tamm, R. Le Targat, P. Tuckey, G. Vallet, T. Waterholter, D. Xu, P. Wolf

We search for transient variations of the fine structure constant using data from a European network of fiber-linked optical atomic clocks. By searching for coherent variations in the recorded clock frequency comparisons across the network, we significantly improve the constraints on transient variations of the fine structure constant. For example, we constrain the variation to5 × 10-17 for transients of duration 103 s. This analysis also presents a possibility to search for dark matter, the mysterious substance hypothesised to explain galaxy dynamics and other astrophysical phenomena that is thought to dominate the matter density of the universe. At the current sensitivity level, we find no evidence for dark matter in the form of topological defects (or, more generally, any macroscopic objects), and we thus place constraints on certain potential couplings between the dark matter and standard model particles, substantially improving upon the existing constraints, particularly for large (104 km) objects.

External Organisation(s)
Observatoire de Paris (OBSPARIS)
University of Queensland
National Metrology Institute of Germany (PTB)
Universite Paris 13
National Physical Laboratory (NPL)
Spanish Navy Observatory (ROA)
International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM)
Réseau National de télécommunications pour la Technologie l’Enseignement et la Recherche (RENATER)
New journal of physics
Publication date
Publication status
Peer reviewed
ASJC Scopus subject areas
Physics and Astronomy(all)
Electronic version(s) (Access: Open)