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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/T01668X/1
Title: Searching for axion-like particles with astrophysical data
Principal Investigator: Chadha-Day, Dr FV
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Department: Physics
Organisation: Kings College London
Scheme: EPSRC Fellowship
Starts: 01 October 2020 Ends: 30 September 2024 Value (£): 425,577
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Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
03 Dec 2019 Stephen Hawking Fellowship Announced
21 Jan 2020 Stephen Hawking Fellowship Interview Panel 2 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
85% of the matter in the universe is Dark Matter. We know that Dark Matter is there, because we see its gravitational pull on stars, galaxies and other visible matter, but so far we have not detected it in any other way. We have many theories as to the identity of Dark Matter. One such Dark Matter candidate is the axion-like particle or ALP. ALPs arise generically in String Theory - one of the leading theories that unifies quantum mechanics with gravity. The goal of my research is to find out whether or not ALPs exist.

To do this, I will use the fact that ALPs can interact very weakly with light. Specifically, in the presence of a background magnetic field, ALPs can turn into photons (particles of light) and vice versa. The large magnetic fields present in neutron stars and in galaxy clusters offer an ideal laboratory for discovering ALPs. I will use X-ray telescope observations of neutron stars and galaxy clusters to search for signs of ALPs.
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