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Strongly coupled chameleons and the neutronic quantum bouncer

Abstract : We consider the potential detection of chameleons using bouncing ultracold neutrons. We show that the presence of a chameleon field over a planar plate would alter the energy levels of ultra cold neutrons in the terrestrial gravitational field. When chameleons are strongly coupled to nuclear matter, $\beta\gtrsim 10^8$, we find that the shift in energy levels would be detectable with the forthcoming GRANIT experiment, where a sensitivity of order one percent of a peV is expected. We also find that an extremely large coupling $\beta\gtrsim 10^{11}$ would lead to new bound states at a distance of order 2 microns, which is already ruled out by previous Grenoble experiments. The resulting bound, $\beta\lesssim 10^{11}$, is already three orders of magnitude better than the upper bound, $\beta\lesssim 10^{14}$, from precision tests of atomic spectra.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, May 18, 2011 - 8:44:51 AM
Last modification on : Monday, July 20, 2020 - 9:18:29 AM

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Philippe Brax, G. Pignol. Strongly coupled chameleons and the neutronic quantum bouncer. Physical Review Letters, American Physical Society, 2011, 107, pp.111301. ⟨10.1103/PhysRevLett.107.111301⟩. ⟨in2p3-00593906⟩

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