Nicholas Cutsail Rose Hills
Dark Matter Blob Signal Analysis
Currently, the nature of dark matter is a fascinating question for the field of physics. One promising candidate about the nature of dark matter is axions, which is a theoretical, lightweight particle filling all of space. According to theory, these light, axion-like particles behave like a field that oscillates at particular frequencies. However, this frequency can change over space, forming regions bounded by so-called domain walls. This year, I have been working on the Global Network of Optical Magnetometers for Exotic physics (GNOME) station at Berkeley, which uses optical techniques to measure the magnetic field in a vapor cell. According to theory, when the Earth crosses one of these axion domains, an effective magnetic field coupling will be detected in the magnetometer, so the presence of axions can be determined by analyzing the signal. To reduce noise, the GNOME collaboration operates multiple, independent magnetometers across the Earth, jointly analyzing the signals to search for axions. After working on the experimental setup this past academic year, I will transition to data analysis of the magnetometer signals this summer. Specifically, one theoretical prediction proposes self-interactions between the dark matter, which causes the dark matter to coalesce into “dark blobs.” I will be supporting the data analysis by incorporating the different signal patterns of these dark blobs, which would behave differently from the domain walls.