University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy

Physics and Astronomy Calendar

Friday, October 25th 2019
Speaker: Ryan Janish (UC Berkeley)
Subject: Fundamental Physics with Supernovae and Superconductors

In the first part of this talk I will describe how type 1a supernovae (SN) can be used to constrain the interactions of heavy dark matter (DM), which may heat a white dwarf (WD) sufficient to trigger runaway fusion and ignite a SN. Based on the existence of long-lived WDs and the observed supernovae rate, we put new constraints on ultra-heavy DM candidates that produce high energy SM particles in a WD. This rules out supersymmetric Q-ball DM in parameter space complementary to terrestrial bounds. We also constrain DM which is captured by WDs and forms a self-gravitating DM core. Such a core may form a black hole that ignites a supernovae via Hawking radiation, or which causes ignition via a burst of annihilation during gravitational collapse. It is also intriguing that these DM-induced ignition scenarios provide an alternative mechanism of triggering supernovae from sub-Chandrasekhar mass progenitors. In the second part of the talk, I will show how superconducting RF cavities can significantly improve the sensitivity of "light shinning through walls" searches for axion-like particles (ALPs). Our setup uses a gapped toroid to confine a static magnetic field and prevent quenching of the superconductor. Such a search has the potential to probe axion-photon coupling down to g ~ 2 x 10^-11 GeV^-1, comparable to future optical and solar searches.

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