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  1. Abstract Axions are hypothetical particles that may explain the observed dark matter density and the non-observation of a neutron electric dipole moment. An increasing number of axion laboratory searches are underway worldwide, but these efforts are made difficult by the fact that the axion mass is largely unconstrained. If the axion is generated after inflation there is a unique mass that gives rise to the observed dark matter abundance; due to nonlinearities and topological defects known as strings, computing this mass accurately has been a challenge for four decades. Recent works, making use of large static lattice simulations, have led to largely disparate predictions for the axion mass, spanning the range from 25 microelectronvolts to over 500 microelectronvolts. In this work we show that adaptive mesh refinement simulations are better suited for axion cosmology than the previously-used static lattice simulations because only the string cores require high spatial resolution. Using dedicated adaptive mesh refinement simulations we obtain an over three order of magnitude leap in dynamic range and provide evidence that axion strings radiate their energy with a scale-invariant spectrum, to within ~5% precision, leading to a mass prediction in the range (40,180) microelectronvolts.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2023
  2. A bstract In the early universe, evaporating black holes heat up the surrounding plasma and create a temperature profile around the black hole that can be more important than the black hole itself. As an example, we demonstrate how the hot plasma surrounding evaporating black holes can efficiently produce monopoles via the Kibble-Zurek mechanism. In the case where black holes reheat the universe, reheat temperatures above ∼ 500 GeV can already lead to monopoles overclosing the universe.
  3. A bstract We study early and late time signatures of both QCD axion strings and hyperlight axion strings (axiverse strings). We focus on charge deposition onto axion strings from electromagnetic fields and subsequent novel neutralizing mechanisms due to bound state formation. While early universe signatures appear unlikely, there are a plethora of late time signatures. Axion strings passing through galaxies obtain a huge charge density, which is neutralized by a dense plasma of bound state Standard Model particles forming a one dimensional “atom”. The charged wave packets on the string, as well as the dense plasma outside, travel at nearly the speed of light along the string. These packets of high energy plasma collide with a center of mass energy of up to 10 9 GeV. These collisions can have luminosities up to seven orders of magnitude larger than the solar luminosity, and last for thousands of years, making them visible at radio telescopes even when they occur cosmologically far away. The new observables are complementary to the CMB observables for hyperlight axion strings that have been recently proposed, and are sensitive to a similar motivated parameter range.
  4. A bstract We present the supernova constraints on an axion-photon-dark photon coupling, which can be the leading coupling to dark sector models and can also lead to dramatic changes to axion cosmology. We show that the supernova bound on this coupling has two unusual features. One occurs because the scattering that leads to the trapping regime converts axions and dark photons into each other. Thus, if one of the two new particles is sufficiently massive, both production and scattering become suppressed and the bounds from bulk emission and trapped (area) emission both weaken exponentially and do not intersection The other unusual feature occurs because for light dark photons, longitudinal modes couple more weakly than transverse modes do. Since the longitudinal mode is more weakly coupled, it can still cause excessive cooling even if the transverse mode is trapped. Thus, the supernova constraints for massive dark photons look like two independent supernova bounds super-imposed on top of each other.
  5. A bstract The low frequency part of the gravitational wave spectrum generated by local physics, such as a phase transition or parametric resonance, is largely fixed by causality, offering a clean window into the early Universe. In this work, this low frequency end of the spectrum is analyzed with an emphasis on a physical understanding, such as the suppressed production of gravitational waves due to the excitation of an over-damped harmonic oscillator and their enhancement due to being frozen out while outside the horizon. Due to the difference between sub-horizon and super-horizon physics, it is inevitable that there will be a distinct spectral feature that could allow for the direct measurement of the conformal Hubble rate at which the phase transition occurred. As an example, free-streaming particles (such as the gravity waves themselves) present during the phase transition affect the production of super-horizon modes. This leads to a steeper decrease in the spectrum at low frequencies as compared to the well-known causal k 3 super-horizon scaling of stochastic gravity waves. If a sizable fraction of the energy density is in free-streaming particles, they even lead to the appearance of oscillatory features in the spectrum. If the universe was not radiationmore »dominated when the waves were generated, a similar feature also occurs at the transition between sub-horizon to super-horizon causality. These features are used to show surprising consequences, such as the fact that a period of matter domination following the production of gravity waves actually increases their power spectrum at low frequencies.« less
  6. A bstract While non-linear realizations of continuous symmetries feature derivative interactions and have no potential, non-linear realizations of discrete symmetries feature non-derivative interactions and have a highly suppressed potential. These Goldstone bosons of discrete symmetries have a non-zero potential, but the potential generated from quantum corrections is inherently very highly suppressed. We explore various discrete symmetries and to what extent the potential is suppressed for each of them.
  7. Abstract

    We consider the use of quantum-limited mechanical force sensors to detect ultralight (sub-meV) dark matter (DM) candidates which are weakly coupled to the standard model. We show that mechanical sensors with masses around or below the milligram scale, operating around the standard quantum limit, would enable novel searches for DM with natural frequencies around the kHz scale. This would complement existing strategies based on torsion balances, atom interferometers, and atomic clock systems.