Search for topological defect dark matter with a global network of optical magnetometers

Samer Afach, Ben C. Buchler, Dmitry Budker, Conner Dailey, Andrei Derevianko, Vincent Dumont, Nataniel L. Figueroa, Ilja Gerhardt, Zoran D. Grujić, Hong Guo, Chuanpeng Hao, Paul S. Hamilton, Morgan Hedges, Derek F. Jackson Kimball, Dongok Kim, Sami Khamis, Thomas Kornack, Victor Lebedev, Zheng Tian Lu, Hector Masia-RoigMadeline Monroy, Mikhail Padniuk, Christopher A. Palm, Sun Yool Park, Karun V. Paul, Alexander Penaflor, Xiang Peng, Maxim Pospelov, Rayshaun Preston, Szymon Pustelny, Theo Scholtes, Perrin C. Segura, Yannis K. Semertzidis, Dong Sheng, Yun Chang Shin, Joseph A. Smiga, Jason E. Stalnaker, Ibrahim Sulai, Dhruv Tandon, Tao Wang, Antoine Weis, Arne Wickenbrock, Tatum Wilson, Teng Wu, David Wurm, Wei Xiao, Yucheng Yang, Dongrui Yu, Jianwei Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Ultralight bosons such as axion-like particles are viable candidates for dark matter. They can form stable, macroscopic field configurations in the form of topological defects that could concentrate the dark matter density into many distinct, compact spatial regions that are small compared with the Galaxy but much larger than the Earth. Here we report the results of the search for transient signals from the domain walls of axion-like particles by using the global network of optical magnetometers for exotic (GNOME) physics searches. We search the data, consisting of correlated measurements from optical atomic magnetometers located in laboratories all over the world, for patterns of signals propagating through the network consistent with domain walls. The analysis of these data from a continuous month-long operation of GNOME finds no statistically significant signals, thus placing experimental constraints on such dark matter scenarios.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1396-1401
Number of pages6
JournalNature Physics
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2021

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