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Axion dark matter: What is it and why now?

Chadha-Day, Francesca; Ellis, John; Marsh, David J.E.

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John Ellis

David J.E. Marsh


The axion has emerged in recent years as a leading particle candidate to provide the mysterious dark matter in the cosmos, as we review here for a general scientific audience. We describe first the historical roots of the axion in the Standard Model of particle physics and the problem of charge-parity invariance of the strong nuclear force. We then discuss how the axion emerges as a dark matter candidate and how it is produced in the early universe. The symmetry properties of the axion dictate the form of its interactions with ordinary matter. Astrophysical considerations restrict the particle mass and interaction strengths to a limited range, which facilitates the planning of experiments to detect the axion. A companion review discusses the exciting prospect that the axion could be detected in the near term in the laboratory.


Chadha-Day, F., Ellis, J., & Marsh, D. J. (2022). Axion dark matter: What is it and why now?. Science Advances, 8(8),

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 14, 2022
Online Publication Date Feb 23, 2022
Publication Date Feb 25, 2022
Deposit Date Mar 9, 2022
Publicly Available Date Mar 9, 2022
Journal Science Advances
Publisher American Association for the Advancement of Science
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 8
Issue 8


Published Journal Article (720 Kb)

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Copyright Statement
Copyright &copy; 2022 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works. Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial License 4.0 (CC BY-NC).<br /><br /> This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

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