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Using atom interferometry to detect dark energy

Burrage, Clare; Copeland, Edmund J.



We review the tantalising prospect that the first evidence for the dark energy driving the observed acceleration of the Universe on giga-parsec scales may be found through metre scale laboratory based atom interferometry experiments. To do that, we first introduce the idea that scalar fields could be responsible for dark energy and show that in order to be compatible with fifth force constraints these fields must have a screening mechanism which hides their effects from us within the solar system. Particular emphasis is placed on one such screening mechanism known as the chameleon effect where the field's mass becomes dependent on the environment. The way the field behaves in the presence of a spherical source is determined and we then go on to show how in the presence of the kind of high vacuum associated with atom interferometry experiments, and when the test particle is an atom, it is possible to use the associated interference pattern to place constraints on the acceleration due to the fifth force of the chameleon field - this has already been used to rule out large regions of the chameleon parameter space and maybe one day will be able to detect the force due to the dark energy field in the laboratory.


Burrage, C., & Copeland, E. J. (in press). Using atom interferometry to detect dark energy. Contemporary Physics, 57(2),

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 4, 2015
Online Publication Date Jul 16, 2015
Deposit Date Jan 4, 2017
Publicly Available Date Jan 4, 2017
Journal Contemporary Physics
Print ISSN 0010-7514
Electronic ISSN 1366-5812
Publisher Taylor & Francis Open
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 57
Issue 2
Keywords cosmology, dark energy, atom interferometry
Public URL
Publisher URL
Copyright Statement Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address:
Additional Information This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Contemporary Physics on 16/07/2015, available online:


1507.07493.pdf (3.3 Mb)

Copyright Statement
Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address:

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