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Centro de Astrofísica da Universidade do Porto

Dark energy and equivalence principle constraints from astrophysical tests of the stability of the fine-structure constant

C. J. A. P. Martins, A. M. M. Pinho, R. F. C. Alves, M. Pino, C. I. S. A. Rocha, M. von Wietersheim

Abstract
Astrophysical tests of the stability of fundamental couplings, such as the fine-structure constant α, are becoming an increasingly powerful probe of new physics. Here we discuss how these measurements, combined with local atomic clock tests and Type Ia supernova and Hubble parameter data, 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. Specifically, current data tightly constrains a combination of ζ and the present dark energy equation of state w0. Moreover, in these models the new degree of freedom inevitably couples to nucleons (through the α dependence of their masses) and leads to violations of the Weak Equivalence Principle. We obtain indirect bounds on the Eötvös parameter η that are typically stronger than the current direct ones. We discuss the model-dependence of our results and briefly comment on how the forthcoming generation of high-resolution ultra-stable spectrographs will enable significantly tighter constraints.

Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics
Volume 08, Page 047
August 2015

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