Light scalars: coherent nonlinear Thomson scattering and detection
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Several theories of beyond-the-standard-model physics predict light scalars that couple to fermions. By extending classical electrodynamics to include an electron-scalar coupling, we calculate the nonlinear Thomson scattering of light scalars in the collision of an electron with a monochro- matic electromagnetic background. In doing so, we identify the classical electron-scalar current, which allows for straightforward inclusion of the process in laser-plasma particle-in-cell simulations. Scattering of pseudoscalar particles is found to vanish in the classical (or, equivalently, the low-lightfront-momentum) limit. When electrons co-propagate with the laser pulse, we demonstrate that coherence effects in the production of light scalar particles can greatly enhance the signal for sub-eV scalars. When the electron beams counter-propagate with the laser pulse, we demon- strate that experiments can probe larger scalar masses due to the larger momentum transfer in the collisions. We then discuss a possible lab-based experimental set-up to detect this scalar signal which is similar to light-shining-through-the-wall experiments. Using existing experimental facilities as benchmarks, we calculate projected exclusion bounds on the couplings of light scalars in such experiments.
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