Gravity Group Lunch Seminar, Nick Jennings (University of Oxford), "Searches for ALPs with Current and Future X-ray Satellites"

Fri, Sep 29, 2017, 12:00 pm

Galaxy clusters represent excellent laboratories to search for Axion-Like Particles (ALPs). They contain magnetic fields which can induce quasi-sinusoidal oscillations in the X-ray spectra of AGNs situated in or behind them. Ultra-deep Chandra observations of the Perseus cluster contain over 5e5 counts from the central NGC1275 AGN, and represent an extraordinary dataset for ALP searches. In this talk I will describe how we used these to search for spectral irregularities from the AGN. No irregularities were found at the ~30% level, allowing us to place leading constraints on the ALP-photon mixing parameter g_aγγ < 1.5e-12 1/GeV for m_a < 1e-12 eV. I will move on to discuss the upcoming Athena X-ray Observatory, due for launch in 2028. The X-ray Integral Field Unit (X-IFU) instrument onboard will be far better able to constrain ALPs than Chandra, due to its excellent energy resolution. Using the SIXTE simulation software, we estimate that non-observation of spectral modulations for a 200 ks observation of NGC1275 will constrain g_aγγ < 1.5e-13 1/GeV, an order of magnitude improvement over that derived from Chandra data.


Salads, sandwiches, and wraps are catered by D'Angelo Italian Market.
Bottled water will be provided.

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Joseph Henry Room