Probing exotic fields with networks of atomic clocks
AuthorDailey, Conner B.
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An exotic light field (ELF) is a class of field beyond the standard model that could be produced in high-energy astrophysical events with enough amplitude to be detected with precision measurement sensors. A model that describes an ELF as a pulse of ultra-relativistic matter waves and an estimate of the sensitivity for current and future networks of atomic clocks to detect ELFs is developed here. The global positioning system (GPS) is presented as an existing network of atomic clocks that has the potential to probe ELFs. A first proof-of-principle search for ELFs emitted as bursts from the GW170817 neutron star merger was performed with data from GPS. Although no concrete evidence was found for ELFs, a foundation has been produced for future searches for ELFs originating from many other astrophysical events, such as gamma ray bursts, black hole mergers, and solar flares for the last 20 years of GPS operation.