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Search for topological defect dark matter with a global network of optical magnetometers




Afach, Samer
Buchler, Ben
Budker, Dmitry
Dailey, Conner
Derevianko, Andrei
Dumont, Vincent
Figueroa, Nataniel L.
Gerhardt, Ilja
Grujic, Zoran D.
Guo, Hong

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Nature Publishing Group


Ultralight bosons such as axion-like particles are viable candidates for dark matter. They can form stable, macroscopic field configurations in the form of topological defects that could concentrate the dark matter density into many distinct, compact spatial regions that are small compared with the Galaxy but much larger than the Earth. Here we report the results of the search for transient signals from the domain walls of axion-like particles by using the global network of optical magnetometers for exotic (GNOME) physics searches. We search the data, consisting of correlated measurements from optical atomic magnetometers located in laboratories all over the world, for patterns of signals propagating through the network consistent with domain walls. The analysis of these data from a continuous month-long operation of GNOME finds no statistically significant signals, thus placing experimental constraints on such dark matter scenarios.




Afach, S., Buchler, B.C., Budker, D. et al. Search for topological defect dark matter with a global network of optical magnetometers. Nat. Phys. 17, 1396–1401 (2021).


Nature Physics


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Open Access

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License



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