Illuminating the Dark : Laboratory-Based Dark Matter Production

Scott, John and Burton, David and Bailey, Ian (2021) Illuminating the Dark : Laboratory-Based Dark Matter Production. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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The focus of this thesis is the exploration of novel theoretical approaches to the production and detection of dark matter candidates using laboratory-based electromagnetic sources. The pursuit of these investigations culminated in the development and application of a post-process numeric analysis software, Run:DMC. This code was applied to the output data of two accelerator simulation packages, namely EPOCH and MEEP, to calculate the field strengths of particular dark matter candidates – axion-like particles, dilaton-like particles and dark photons – within these systems. The conclusion of these analyses found that dark matter candidates can be produced in a variety of experimental systems within modern laboratories with relatively modest equipment. Chapter 1 chronicles the amassing of observational evidence supporting the existence of dark matter, along with the developments of the dark matter candidates of concern for this thesis and the proposed investigational approaches. Chapter 2 derives and discusses the theoretical underpinnings and developments of particular dark matter candidates. Similarly, Chapters 3, 4 and 5 cover the theory of the methodologies and techniques utilised within this thesis. Chapter 6 presents Run:DMC, the computational code designed and developed for the purpose of post-process analysing data produced by simulations to calculate the corresponding dark matter fields. Within this chapter, relevant theory is derived and the code is applied to several test cases, the results of which are used to infer its strengths and weaknesses. Chapter 7 focusses on axion-like particle (ALP) and dilaton-like particle (DLP) production within laser-driven plasma wake field acceleration. It was found that magnetised plasma wakes are capable of producing both ALPs and DLPs, however it was also found that the dominant field contributions for both dark matter candidates derive from the laser pulse driving the wake. Trends across system parameters were then investigated: ALP production was found to be maximised when the system is exposed to high strength external magnetic fields which are parallel to the direction of laser propagation; in contrast, DLPs are relatively unaffected by magnetic field strength or angle. Chapter 8 presents and discusses results of the second method of dark matter production, namely ALPs and hidden sector photons (HSPs) from a photonic bandgap lattice (PBL) located within a microwave resonant cavity (MRC). It was found that magnetised MRCs are suitable mechanisms of laboratory-based dark matter production, which is capable of being coupled with a PBG to effectively restrict the applied electric field to a much more localised region than ordinarily possible. Lastly, Chapter 9 concludes the thesis by uniting all concepts theretofore discussed, summarising results and suggesting further developments of the presented ideas.

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07 Jan 2022 09:40
Last Modified:
04 Jun 2024 23:39