Ultra-high-energy (UHE) photons are an important tool for studying the high-energy Universe. A plausible source of photons with exa-eV (EeV) energy is provided by UHE cosmic rays (UHECRs) undergoing the Greisen–Zatsepin–Kuzmin process (Greisen 1966; Zatsepin & Kuzmin 1966) or pair production process (Blumenthal 1970) on a cosmic background radiation. In this context, the EeV photons can be a probe of both UHECR mass composition and the distribution of their sources (Gelmini, Kalashev & Semikoz 2008; Hooper, Taylor & Sarkar 2011). At the same time, the possible flux of photons produced by UHE protons in the vicinity of their sources by pion photoproduction or inelastic nuclear collisions would be noticeable only for relatively near sources, as the attenuation length of UHE photons is smaller than that of UHE protons; see, for example, Bhattacharjee & Sigl (2000) for a review. There also exists a class of so-called top-down models of UHECR generation that efficiently produce the UHE photons, for instance by the decay of heavy dark-matter particles (Berezinsky, Kachelriess & Vilenkin 1997; Kuzmin & Rubakov 1998) or by the radiation from cosmic strings (Berezinsky, Blasi & Vilenkin 1998). The search for the UHE photons was shown to be the most sensitive methodmore »
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Search for topological defect dark matter with a global network of optical magnetometers
Abstract Ultralight bosons such as axion-like particles are viable candidates for dark matter. They can form stable, macroscopic field configurations in the form of topological defects that could concentrate the dark matter density into many distinct, compact spatial regions that are small compared with the Galaxy but much larger than the Earth. Here we report the results of the search for transient signals from the domain walls of axion-like particles by using the global network of optical magnetometers for exotic (GNOME) physics searches. We search the data, consisting of correlated measurements from optical atomic magnetometers located in laboratories all over the world, for patterns of signals propagating through the network consistent with domain walls. The analysis of these data from a continuous month-long operation of GNOME finds no statistically significant signals, thus placing experimental constraints on such dark matter scenarios.
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- Nature Physics
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- National Science Foundation
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