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The Dark Matter Radio (DM Radio)

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The Irwin group is focused on searching for "light" dark matter that weighs so little that it acts more like a field than a particle. Field-like dark matter must be a boson. Two theoretically well motivated light-field dark matter candidates are the axion (spin 0) and the hidden photon (spin 1). Both couple weakly to photons. The Dark Matter Radio, or DM Radio for short, is an experiment that detects dark matter like an AM radio. But unlike a radio it uses exquisitely sensitive superconducting devices, including Superconducting Quantum Interference Devices (SQUIDs), and Quantum Sensors based on photon upconversion, to search for these elusive particles.


DMRadio-50L is the current generation of DM Radio under construction at Stanford. Using a 50L volume and a 0.6T magnet, DMR 50L will search for axions and hidden photons from ~10 peV to ~10 neV masses. It will also be a testbed for new quantum sensors for DMRadio-m3.

DMRadio m3 in the B field

DM Radio m3

DMRadio-m3 is a next generation dark matter experiment which will be sensitive to the QCD axion below 1 μeV. DMR-m3 will have a pickup volume of 1m3, a > 4T magnetic field and quantum acceleration to perform the most sensitive search for axions in the MHz range.

Together, the DM Radio family of experiments will carve out a significant area of unexplored parameter space for axions and hidden photons. 

The projected sensitivity of DMRadio 50L and M3

The projected sensitivity of the DMRadio family of experiments to axion dark matter.