Precision Measurement Noise Asymmetry and Its Annual Modulation as a Dark Matter Signature

Benjamin M. Roberts, Andrei Derevianko, Universe 7, 50 (2021)



Dark matter may be composed of self-interacting ultralight quantum fields that form macroscopic objects. An example of which includes Q-balls, compact non-topological solitons predicted by a range of theories that are viable dark matter candidates. As the Earth moves through the galaxy, interactions with such objects may leave transient perturbations in terrestrial experiments. Here we propose a new dark matter signature: an asymmetry (and other non-Gaussianities) that may thereby be induced in the noise distributions of precision quantum sensors, such as atomic clocks, magnetometers, and interferometers. Further, we demonstrate that there would be a sizeable annual modulation in these signatures due to the annual variation of the Earth velocity with respect to dark matter halo. As an illustration of our formalism, we apply our method to 6 years of data from the atomic clocks on board GPS satellites and place constraints on couplings for macroscopic dark matter objects with radii R<104km, the region that is otherwise inaccessible using relatively sparse global networks.

Written on 1 February 2021