Quantum Sensors for the Hidden Sector
Over many years, great progress has been made in fundamental particle physics using high energy accelerators. The so-called high energy frontier has revealed many heavy unstable particles, and these particles have been grouped together and organised into an impressive theoretical and phenomenological structure called the standard model of particle physics. However, it is getting difficult firstly to predict the energies at which the next new high energy physics may reside, and secondly to afford the machines that might be necessary to probe this new high energy physics.
Hidden sector physics is a different approach to probing the Universe. It turns out that the standard model makes tantilizing predictions about phenomena that may exist not at high energies but at low energies. These phenomena have remained undetected in accelerators because their interactions with conventional detectors are too faint for the standard technologies. However, great progress has in the meantime been made in device physics towards new classes of detectors and coherent quantum amplifiers that approach the quantum limit in sensitivity. That is, they can detect individual quanta, and in particular individual photons or other more exotic electrodynamic states. Such detectors may in the right detector be able to reveal new unexplored structure close to the ground state, the vacuum, of physics. Such phenomena may turn out to be the solution of the dark matter problem, and even provide information about the very early phase of evolution of the Universe. Probing these hidden sector phenomena is the aim of a new grouping of scientists and engineers under the umbrella of the QSHS (Quantum Sensors for the Hidden Sector) group. This group is primarily based in the U.K., though we are in close partnership with broader international groups of researchers.
The group is a member of the Quantum Sensors for Fundamental Physics (QSFP) consortium.