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Polarized light propagating in a magnetic field as a probe of millicharged fermions.

Gies, H. and Jaeckel, J. and Ringwald, A. (2006) 'Polarized light propagating in a magnetic field as a probe of millicharged fermions.', Physical review letters., 97 . p. 140402.


Possible extensions of the standard model of particle physics suggest the existence of particles with small, unquantized electric charge. Photon-initiated pair production of millicharged fermions in a magnetic field would manifest itself as a vacuum magnetic (VM) dichroism. We show that laser polarization experiments searching for this effect yield, in the mass range below 0.1 eV, much stronger constraints on millicharged fermions than previous laboratory searches. VM birefringence due to virtual pair production gives a slightly better constraint for masses between 0.1 and a few eV. We comment on the possibility that the VM dichroism observed by PVLAS arises from pair production of such millicharged fermions rather than from single production of axionlike particles. Such a scenario can be confirmed or firmly excluded by a search for invisible decays of orthopositronium with a branching-fraction sensitivity of about 10-9.

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Publisher statement:© 2006 by The American Physical Society. All rights reserved.
Record Created:28 Apr 2008
Last Modified:07 Sep 2011 16:34

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