Dark Matter Axions



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PIRSA Number: 
12030091

Abstract

The axion provides a solution to the strong CP problem and is a cold dark matter candidate.  I'll briefly review the limits on the axion from particle physics, stellar evolution and cosmology.  The various constraints suggest that the axion mass is in the micro-eV to milli-eV range.  In this window, axions contribute significantly to the energy density of the universe in the form of cold dark matter.  It was recently found that dark matter axions thermalize and form a Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC).  As a result, it may be possible to distinguish axions from other forms of dark matter, such as weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs), on observational grounds.  Axions accreting onto a galactic halo fall in with net overall rotation because almost all go to the lowest energy available state for given angular momentum.  In contrast, WIMPs accrete onto galactic halos with an irrotational velocity field.  The inner caustics are different in the two cases.  I'll argue that the dark matter is axions because there is observational evidence for the type of inner caustic produced by, and only by, an axion BEC.