Regents of the University of California at Berkeley: Microwave Cavity Research and Development

Photo by P. Marenfeld & NOAO/AURA/NSF
Year Awarded

2016

Amount Awarded

$115,000

Program Area

The Regents of the University of California is the governing board of the University of California, where the research team working on the following project is based.

This grant is part of a collaboration among three universities that aims to improve the sensitivity and search rate of axion dark matter detection techniques. Axions are theoretical particles that could possibly constitute the dark matter of the universe, but that are hard to detect due to their low mass and weak interaction with ordinary matter. The novel experiment––which the Foundation has previously supported with $1.1 million in grants––utilizes a high-purity copper cavity, a Josephson Parametric Amplifier (JPA), a dilution refrigerator, and a 9-tesla magnet to detect axion particles. The experiment converts axions into microwave photons that can be extracted, amplified, and detected.

Through this new grant, researchers aim to explore two further innovations: the applicability of dielectric Bragg reflectors to improve cavity quality, and the addition of Photonic Band Gap (PBG) Resonators to potentially eliminate confounding electromagnetic modes from the electromagnetic spectrum.

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