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Title: Measurement of the dispersion of radiation from a steady cosmological source

The 'missing baryons' of the near universe are believed to be principally in a partially ionized state. Although passing electromagnetic waves are dispersed by the plasma, the effect has hitherto not been utilized as a means of detection because it is generally believed that a successful observation requires the background source to be highly variable, i.e., the class of sources that could potentially deliver a verdict is limited. We argue in two stages that this condition is not necessary. First, by modeling the fluctuations on macroscopic scales as interference between wave packets, we show that, in accordance with the ideas advanced by Einstein in 1917, both the behavior of photons as bosons (i.e., the intensity variance has contributions from Poisson and phase noise) and the van-Cittert-Zernike theorem are a consequence of wave-particle duality. Nevertheless, we then point out that, in general, the variance on some macroscopic timescale τ consists of (1) a main contributing term ∝1/τ, plus (2) a small negative term ∝1/τ{sup 2} due to the finite size of the wave packets. If the radiation passes through a dispersive medium, this size will be enlarged well beyond its vacuum minimum value of Δt ≈ 1/Δν, leading to a moremore » negative (2) term (while (1) remains unchanged), and hence a suppression of the variance wrt the vacuum scenario. The phenomenon, which is typically at a few parts in 10{sup 5} level, enables one to measure cosmological dispersion in principle. Signal-to-noise estimates, along with systematic issues and how to overcome them, will be presented.« less
Authors:
;  [1] ;  [2]
  1. Department of Physics, University of Alabama, Huntsville, AL 35899 (United States)
  2. Blackett Laboratory, Imperial College, London SW7 2AZ (United Kingdom)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22341995
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 778; Journal Issue: 1; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; AMINO ACIDS; DETECTION; DISPERSIONS; DUALITY; ELECTROMAGNETIC RADIATION; FLUCTUATIONS; INTERFERENCE; NOISE; PHOTONS; PLASMA; SIMULATION; UNIVERSE; WAVE PACKETS