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Ephraim Oliphant

Characterizing Noise in the Search for the Axion

Ephraim Oliphant ’22

Faculty Mentor(s):
Ibrahim Sulai, Physics and Astronomy
Funding Source:
Kalman Fund

Axions are theoretical new particles that may help solve large unanswered questions in physics ranging from the nature of dark matter to the Strong-CP problem. The Global Network of Optical Magnetometers (GNOME) is a collaboration searching for evidence of Axion and Axion-like particles by searching for the predicted interaction between the new particles and atomic spins. Magnetometers are highly sensitive instruments traditionally used to measure the magnetic field’s effect on atomic spins, but after drastically reducing the local magnetic field they become an ideal tool to detect the effects of the Axion. We are contributing data from a magnetometer in Lewisburg, and are examining noise characteristics of the data across time and frequency. Gaussianity is one such characteristic, which when estimated can help us to better understand the significance of possible detections and nondetections. We developed a tool to quantify this parameter for GNOME’s magnetometers.

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