Wednesday, July 31, 2013

1307.7935 (Selym Villalba-Chávez et al.)

Axion-induced birefringence effects in laser driven nonlinear vacuum

Selym Villalba-Chávez, Antonino Di Piazza
The propagation of a probe electromagnetic field through a counterpropagating strong plane wave is investigated. The effects of the electromagnetic field-(pseudo)scalar axion field interaction and of the self-interaction of the electromagnetic field mediated by virtual electron-positron pairs in the effective Lagrangian approach are included. First, we show that if the strong field is circularly polarized, contrary to the leading-order nonlinear QED effects, the axion-photon interaction induces a chiral-like birefringence and a dichroism in the vacuum. The latter effect is explained by evoking the conservation of the total angular momentum along the common propagation direction of probe and the strong wave, which allows for real axion production only for probe and strong fields with the same helicity. Moreover, in the case of ultra-short strong pulses, it is shown that the absorption coefficients of probe photons depend on the form of the pulse and, in particular, on the carrier-envelope phase of the strong beam. The present results can be exploited experimentally to isolate nonlinear vacuum effects stemming from light-axion interaction, especially at upcoming ultra-strong laser facilities, where stringent constraints on the axion-photon coupling constant are in principle provided.
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