First results on the search for chameleons with the KWISP detector at CAST

CUENDIS S. A. , BAIER J., BARTH K., BAUM S., Bayirli A., BELOV A., ...More

PHYSICS OF THE DARK UNIVERSE, vol.26, 2019 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 26
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.dark.2019.100367
  • Keywords: Chameleons, Dark energy, Opto-mechanical sensor, Interferometry


We report on a first measurement with a sensitive opto-mechanical force sensor designed for the direct detection of coupling of real chameleons to matter. These dark energy candidates could be produced in the Sun and stream unimpeded to Earth. The KWISP detector installed on the CAST axion search experiment at CERN looks for tiny displacements of a thin membrane caused by the mechanical effect of solar chameleons. The displacements are detected by a Michelson interferometer with a homodyne readout scheme. The sensor benefits from the focusing action of the ABRIXAS X-ray telescope installed at CAST, which increases the chameleon flux on the membrane. A mechanical chopper placed between the telescope output and the detector modulates the incoming chameleon stream. We present the results of the solar chameleon measurements taken at CAST in July 2017, setting an upper bound on the force acting on the membrane of 80 pN at 95% confidence level. The detector is sensitive for direct coupling to matter 104 <= beta(m) <= 108, where the coupling to photons is locally bound to beta(gamma) <= 10(11). (c) 2019 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (