Dark-matter shining in the fire: looking for axions in the plasma

A team of scientists at IPFN predicts that plasmas subjected to intense magnetic fields could be an appealing test bed for dark-matter in the lab.
According to a recent study appearing in Physical Review Letters, axions - a still hypothetical elementary particle but a strong candidate in the dark-matter race - could be excited in strongly magnetized plasmas.
The physical principle is the hybridization between axions and plasmons (the elementary excitations in a plasma), which is provided by an intense magnetic field.
“The coupling mechanism is overwhelmingly simple. It has been hidden in the theory since the early days of axions themselves”, says Hugo Terças. In their study, the magnetized plasma can host a new quasi-particle – the axion-plasmon polariton – in terms of which the signatures of the axion can be captured.
“Plasma-based platforms can be regarded as appealing alternatives to the experiments that are already running, being eventually much cheaper”, declares João Rodrigues. In what concerns the strategy for plasma science, these findings could also be impactful.
'Exploring the possible use of plasmas as detectors of elementary particles could mark a new era of plasma physics, which has been somehow disregarded in more fundamental research', says Tito Mendonça.
We are looking forward to know more about their findings.