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Can axion-like particles explain the alignments of the polarisations of light from quasars?

By A. Payez, J. R. Cudell and D. Hutsemékers


The standard axion-like particle explanation of the observed large-scale coherent orientations of quasar polarisation vectors is ruled out by the recent measurements of vanishing of circular polarisation. We introduce a more general wave-packet formalism and show that, although decoherence effects between waves of different frequencies can reduce significantly the amount of circular polarisation, the axion-like particle hypothesis is disfavoured given the bandwidth with which part of the observations were performed. Finally, we show that a more sophisticated model of extragalactic fields does not lead to an alignment of polarisations.Comment: Submitted to Physical Review D; for high-resolution figures, see

Topics: Astrophysics - Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics, High Energy Physics - Phenomenology
Year: 2011
DOI identifier: 10.1103/PhysRevD.84.085029
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