New physics searches with an optical dump at LUXE

Zhaoyu Bai, Thomas Blackburn, Oleksandr Borysov, Oz Davidi, Anthony Hartin, Beate Heinemann, Teng Ma, Gilad Perez, Arka Santra, Yotam Soreq, Noam Tal Hod

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We propose a novel way to search for feebly interacting massive particles, exploiting two properties of systems involving collisions between high energy electrons and intense laser pulses. The first property is that the electron-laser collision results in a large flux of hard photons, as the laser behaves effectively as a thick medium. The second property is that the emitted photons free-stream inside the laser and thus for them the laser behaves effectively as a very thin medium. Combining these two features implies that the electron-intense-laser collision is an apparatus, which can efficiently convert O(10 GeV) electrons to a large flux of hard, collinear photons. The photons are directed onto a solid dump in which feebly interacting massive particles may be produced. With the much smaller backgrounds induced by the photon beam compared to those expected in electron- or proton-beam dump experiments and combined with a relatively shorter dump used here, the sensitivity to short lifetimes is unparalleled. We denote this novel apparatus as "optical dump"or NPOD (new physics search with optical dump). The proposed LUXE experiment at the European XFEL has all the basic required ingredients to realize this experimental concept for the first time. Moreover, the NPOD extension of LUXE is essentially parasitic to the main experiment and thus, practically it does not have any bearing on its main program. We discuss how the NPOD concept can be realized in practice by adding a detector after the last physical dump of the experiment to reconstruct the two-photon decay of a new spin-0 particle. We show that even with a relatively short dump, the search can still be background-free. Remarkably, even with a few days of data taking with a 40 TW laser corresponding to its initial run, LUXE-NPOD will be able to probe an uncharted territory of models with pseudoscalars and scalars. Furthermore, with a 350 TW laser of the main run, LUXE-NPOD will have a unique reach for these models. In particular it can probe natural scalar theories for masses above 100 MeV. We note that the new NPOD concept may be ported to other existing or future facilities worldwide, including, e.g., future lepton colliders.

Original languageEnglish
Article number115034
JournalPhysical Review D
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics


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