Department of Physics

Postgraduate research profiles


Rhys Povey

Phone: (+61 8) 6488 1330


Start date

May 2010

Submission date

Rhys Povey


Microwave cavity searches for hidden sector photons


Many theories beyond the standard model predict an extra `hidden sector' of particles which only very weakly interact with standard model matter. In such cases the hidden sector photon is thought to be massive, although very light in the sub-eV range, and able to kinetically mix with the standard photon. This mixing allows for oscillations between the photon and hidden sector photon. Experimental searches for the hidden sector photon typically employ the `light shining through a wall' (LSW) technique of indirect observation. Whilst typically done with lasers it was recently proposed that microwaves also be used. This work is on developing, and then building, experiments using microwave cavities to search for the hidden sector photon.

Why my research is important

Whilst the standard model of particle physics is able to explain electromagnetism, the weak force and the strong force with astounding accuracy it is unable to provide a complete understanding of our universe. There are many theories being developed beyond the standard model to provide a more complete explanation. Some of these standard model extensions (including string theories) introduce a yet unobserved extra hidden sector of particles which are only very weakly coupled to standard particles. The validity of these theories need to be tested by experiments such as this.


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