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Centro de Astrofísica da Universidade do Porto

Fine-structure constant constraints on dark energy: II. Extending the parameter space

C. J. A. P. Martins, A. M. M. Pinho, P. Carreira, A. Gusart, , C. I. S. A. Rocha, J. López

Astrophysical tests of the stability of fundamental couplings, such as the fine-structure constant α, are a powerful probe of new physics. Recently these measurements, combined with local atomic clock tests and Type Ia supernova and Hubble parameter data, were used to constrain the simplest class of dynamical dark energy models where the same degree of freedom is assumed to provide both the dark energy and (through a dimensionless coupling, ζ, to the electromagnetic sector) the α variation. One caveat of these analyses was that it was based on fiducial models where the dark energy equation of state was described by a single parameter (effectively its present day value, w0). Here we relax this assumption and study broader dark energy model classes, including the Chevallier-Polarski-Linder and Early Dark Energy parametrizations. Even in these extended cases we find that the current data constrains the coupling ζ at the 10−6 level and w0 to a few percent (marginalizing over other parameters), thus confirming the robustness of earlier analyses. On the other hand, the additional parameters are typically not well constrained. We also highlight the implications of our results for constraints on violations of the Weak Equivalence Principle and improvements to be expected from forthcoming measurements with high-resolution ultra-stable spectrographs.

Physical Review D
Volume 93
January 2016

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Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences

Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences (IA) is a new but long anticipated research infrastructure with a national dimension. It embodies a bold but feasible vision for the development of Astronomy, Astrophysics and Space Sciences in Portugal, taking full advantage and fully realizing the potential created by the national membership of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Southern Observatory (ESO). IA resulted from the merging the two most prominent research units in the field in Portugal: the Centre for Astrophysics of the University of Porto (CAUP) and the Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics of the University of Lisbon (CAAUL). It currently hosts more than two-thirds of all active researchers working in Space Sciences in Portugal, and is responsible for an even greater fraction of the national productivity in international ISI journals in the area of Space Sciences. This is the scientific area with the highest relative impact factor (1.65 times above the international average) and the field with the highest average number of citations per article for Portugal.

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