Publications by Joseph Conlon


Projected bounds on ALPs from Athena

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Blackwell Publishing Inc. (0)

JP Conlon, F Day, N Jennings, S Krippendorf, F Muia

Galaxy clusters represent excellent laboratories to search for Axion-Like Particles (ALPs). They contain magnetic fields which can induce quasi-sinusoidal oscillations in the X-ray spectra of AGNs situated in or behind them. Due to its excellent energy resolution, the X-ray Integral Field Unit (X-IFU) instrument onboard the Athena X-ray Observatory will be far more sensitive to ALP-induced modulations than current detectors. As a first analysis of the sensitivity of Athena to the ALP-photon coupling $g_{a \gamma \gamma}$, we simulate observations of the Seyfert galaxy NGC1275 in the Perseus cluster using the SIXTE simulation software. We estimate that for a 200ks exposure, a non-observation of spectral modulations will constrain ${g_{a\gamma\gamma}\lesssim1.5\times10^{-13}\rm{GeV}^{-1}}$ for $m_a \lesssim 10^{-12} \rm{eV}$, representing an order of magnitude improvement over constraints derived using the current generation of satellites.


The Cosmophenomenology of Axionic Dark Radiation

ArXiv (0)

JP Conlon, MCD Marsh

Relativistic axions are good candidates for the dark radiation for which there are mounting observational hints. The primordial decays of heavy fields produce axions which are ultra-energetic compared to thermalised matter and inelastic axion-matter scattering can occur with $E_{CoM} \gg T_{\gamma}$, thus accessing many interesting processes which are otherwise kinematically forbidden in standard cosmology. Axion-photon scattering into quarks and leptons during BBN affects the light element abundances, and bounds on overproduction of $^4$He constrain a combination of the axion decay constant and the reheating temperature. For supersymmetric models, axion scattering into visible sector superpartners can give direct non-thermal production of dark matter at $T_{\gamma} \ll T_{freezeout}$. Most axions --- or any other dark radiation candidate from modulus decay --- still linger today as a Cosmic Axion Background with $E_{axion} \sim \mathcal{O}(100) eV$, and a flux of $\sim 10^6 cm^{-2} s^{-1}$.


Brane-Antibrane Backreaction in Axion Monodromy Inflation

ArXiv (0)

JP Conlon

We calculate the interaction potential between D5 and anti-D5 branes wrapping distant but homologous 2-cycles. The interaction potential is logarithmic in the separation radius and does not decouple at infinity. We show that logarithmic backreaction is generic for 5-branes wrapping distant but homologous 2-cycles, and we argue that this destabilises models of axion monodromy inflation involving NS5 brane-antibrane pairs in separate warped throats towards an uncontrolled region.


Supersymmetric Radiative Flavour

ArXiv (0)

JP Conlon, FG Pedro

We examine possibilities for the radiative generation of the Yukawa couplings and flavour structure in supersymmetric models in the supersymmetric phase. Not withstanding the non-renormalisation of the Wilsonian superpotential, this can occur through the 2-loop vertex renormalisation of the physical 1PI couplings. We describe this effect and construct models in which this occurs. For models attempting to reproduce the full flavour structure of the Standard Model, we analyse the tension between such models and constraints from low-energy flavour observables. We note that the tension is weakest for the case of generating Dirac neutrino masses.


Moduli-Induced Vacuum Destabilisation

ArXiv (0)

JP Conlon, FG Pedro

We look for ways to destabilise the vacuum. We describe how dense matter environments source a contribution to moduli potentials and analyse the conditions required to initiate either decompactification or a local shift in moduli vevs. We consider astrophysical objects such as neutron stars as well as cosmological and black hole singularities. Regrettably neutron stars cannot destabilise realistic Planck coupled moduli, which would require objects many orders of magnitude denser. However gravitational collapse, either in matter-dominated universes or in black hole formation, inevitably leads to a destabilisation of the compact volume causing a super-inflationary expansion of the extra dimensions.


Scattering and Sequestering of Blow-Up Moduli in Local String Models

ArXiv (0)

JP Conlon, LT Witkowski

We study the scattering and sequestering of blow-up fields - either local to or distant from a visible matter sector - through a CFT computation of the dependence of physical Yukawa couplings on the blow-up moduli. For a visible sector of D3-branes on orbifold singularities we compute the disk correlator < \tau_s^{(1)} \tau_s^{(2)} ... \tau_s^{(n)} \psi \psi \phi > between orbifold blow-up moduli and matter Yukawa couplings. For n = 1 we determine the full quantum and classical correlator. This result has the correct factorisation onto lower 3-point functions and also passes numerous other consistency checks. For n > 1 we show that the structure of picture-changing applied to the twist operators establishes the sequestering of distant blow-up moduli at disk level to all orders in \alpha'. We explain how these results are relevant to suppressing soft terms to scales parametrically below the gravitino mass. By giving vevs to the blow-up fields we can move into the smooth limit and thereby derive CFT results for the smooth Swiss-cheese Calabi-Yaus that appear in the Large Volume Scenario.


Kinetic mixing of U(1)s for local string models

ArXiv (0)

M Bullimore, JP Conlon, LT Witkowski

We study kinetic mixing between massless U(1)s in toroidal orbifolds with D3-branes at orbifold singularities. We focus in particular on C^3/Z_4 singularities but also study C^3/Z_6 and C^3/Z'_6 singularities. We find kinetic mixing can be present and describe the conditions for it to occur. Kinetic mixing comes from winding modes in the N=2 sector of the orbifold. If kinetic mixing is present its size depends only on the complex structure modulus of the torus and is independent of the K\"ahler moduli. We also study gauge threshold corrections for local Z_M x Z_N orbifold models finding that, consistent with previous studies, gauge couplings run from the bulk winding scale rather than the string scale.


Gauge Threshold Corrections for Local Orientifolds

ArXiv (0)

JP Conlon, E Palti

We study gauge threshold corrections for systems of fractional branes at local orientifold singularities and compare with the general Kaplunovsky-Louis expression for locally supersymmetric N=1 gauge theories. We focus on branes at orientifolds of the C^3/Z_4, C^3/Z_6 and C^3/Z_6' singularities. We provide a CFT construction of these theories and compute the threshold corrections. Gauge coupling running undergoes two phases: one phase running from the bulk winding scale to the string scale, and a second phase running from the string scale to the infrared. The first phase is associated to the contribution of N=2 sectors to the IR beta functions and the second phase to the contribution of both N=1 and N=2 sectors. In contrast, naive application of the Kaplunovsky-Louis formula gives single running from the bulk winding mode scale. The discrepancy is resolved through 1-loop non-universality of the holomorphic gauge couplings at the singularity, induced by a 1-loop redefinition of the twisted blow-up moduli which couple differently to different gauge nodes. We also study the physics of anomalous and non-anomalous U(1)s and give a CFT description of how masses for non-anomalous U(1)s depend on the global properties of cycles.


Gauge Threshold Corrections for Local String Models

ArXiv (0)

JP Conlon

We study gauge threshold corrections for local brane models embedded in a large compact space. A large bulk volume gives important contributions to the Konishi and super-Weyl anomalies and the effective field theory analysis implies the unification scale should be enhanced in a model-independent way from M_s to R M_s. For local D3/D3 models this result is supported by the explicit string computations. In this case the scale R M_s comes from the necessity of global cancellation of RR tadpoles sourced by the local model. We also study D3/D7 models and discuss discrepancies with the effective field theory analysis. We comment on phenomenological implications for gauge coupling unification and for the GUT scale.


SUSY Breaking in Local String/F-Theory Models

ArXiv (0)

R Blumenhagen, JP Conlon, S Krippendorf, S Moster, F Quevedo

We investigate bulk moduli stabilisation and supersymmetry breaking in local string/F-theory models where the Standard Model is supported on a del Pezzo surface or singularity. Computing the gravity mediated soft terms on the Standard Model brane induced by bulk supersymmetry breaking in the LARGE volume scenario, we explicitly find suppressions by M_s/M_P ~ V^{-1/2} compared to M_{3/2}. This gives rise to several phenomenological scenarios, depending on the strength of perturbative corrections to the effective action and the source of de Sitter lifting, in which the soft terms are suppressed by at least M_P/V^{3/2} and may be as small as M_P/V^2. Since the gravitino mass is of order M_{3/2} ~ M_P/V, for TeV soft terms all these scenarios give a very heavy gravitino (M_{3/2} >= 10^8 GeV) and generically the lightest moduli field is also heavy enough (m >= 10 TeV) to avoid the cosmological moduli problem. For TeV soft terms, these scenarios predict a minimal value of the volume to be V ~ 10^{6-7} in string units, which would give a unification scale of order M_{GUT} ~ M_s V^{1/6} ~ 10^{16} GeV. The strong suppression of gravity mediated soft terms could also possibly allow a scenario of dominant gauge mediation in the visible sector but with a very heavy gravitino M_{3/2} > 1 TeV.


On Gauge Threshold Corrections for Local IIB/F-theory GUTs

ArXiv (0)

JP Conlon, E Palti

We study gauge threshold corrections for local GUT models in IIB/F-theory. Consistency with holomorphy requirements of supergravity and the Kaplunovsky-Louis formula implies that the unification scale is enhanced by the bulk radius R from the string scale to M_X =RM_S. We argue that the stringy interpretation of this is via a locally uncancelled tadpole sourced by the hypercharge flux. This sources closed string modes propagating into the bulk; equivalently open string gauge coupling running up to the winding scale M_X. The enhancement to R M_s is tied to GUT breaking by a globally trivial hypercharge flux and will occur in all models realising this mechanism.


General Analysis of LARGE Volume Scenarios with String Loop Moduli Stabilisation

ArXiv (0)

M Cicoli, JP Conlon, F Quevedo

We study the topological conditions for general Calabi-Yaus to get a non-supersymmetric AdS exponentially large volume minimum of the scalar potential in flux compactifications of IIB string theory. We show that negative Euler number and the existence of at least one blow-up mode resolving point-like singularities are necessary and sufficient conditions for moduli stabilisation with exponentially large volumes. We also analyse the general effects of string loop corrections on this scenario. While the combination of alpha' and nonperturbative corrections are sufficient to stabilise blow-up modes and the overall volume, quantum corrections are needed to stabilise other directions transverse to the overall volume. This allows exponentially large volume minima to be realised for fibration Calabi-Yaus, with the various moduli of the fibration all being stabilised at exponentially large values. String loop corrections may also play a role in stabilising 4-cycles which support chiral matter and cannot enter directly into the non-perturbative superpotential. We illustrate these ideas by studying the scalar potential for various Calabi-Yau three-folds including K3 fibrations and briefly discuss the potential phenomenological and cosmological implications of our results.


Systematics of String Loop Corrections in Type IIB Calabi-Yau Flux Compactifications

ArXiv (0)

M Cicoli, JP Conlon, F Quevedo

We study the behaviour of the string loop corrections to the N=1 4D supergravity Kaehler potential that occur in flux compactifications of IIB string theory on general Calabi-Yau three-folds. We give a low energy interpretation for the conjecture of Berg, Haack and Pajer for the form of the loop corrections to the Kaehler potential. We check the consistency of this interpretation in several examples. We show that for arbitrary Calabi-Yaus, the leading contribution of these corrections to the scalar potential is always vanishing, giving an "extended no-scale structure". This result holds as long as the corrections are homogeneous functions of degree -2 in the 2-cycle volumes. We use the Coleman-Weinberg potential to motivate this cancellation from the viewpoint of low-energy field theory. Finally we give a simple formula for the 1-loop correction to the scalar potential in terms of the tree-level Kaehler metric and the correction to the Kaehler potential. We illustrate our ideas with several examples. A companion paper will use these results in the study of Kaehler moduli stabilisation.


Volume Modulus Inflation and the Gravitino Mass Problem

ArXiv (0)

JP Conlon, R Kallosh, A Linde, F Quevedo

The Hubble constant during the last stages of inflation in a broad class of models based on the KKLT mechanism should be smaller than the gravitino mass, H <~ m_{3/2}. We point out that in the models with large volume of compactification the corresponding constraint typically is even stronger, H <~ m_{3/2}^{3/2}, in Planck units. In order to address this problem, we propose a class of models with large volume of compactification where inflation may occur exponentially far away from the present vacuum state. In these models, the Hubble constant during inflation can be many orders of magnitude greater than the gravitino mass. We introduce a toy model describing this scenario, and discuss its strengths and weaknesses.


The Neutrino Suppression Scale from Large Volumes

ArXiv (0)

JP Conlon, D Cremades

We present an argument in which the scale ~ 0.1 eV associated with neutrino masses naturally appears in a a class of (very) large volume compactifications, being tied to a supersymmetry scale of 10^3 GeV and a string scale of 10^11 GeV. The masses are of Majorana type and there is no right-handed neutrino within the low-energy field theory. The suppression scale 10^14 GeV is independent of the masses of the heavy states that are integrated out. These kind of constructions appear naturally in Type IIB flux compactifications. However, the arguments that lead to this result rely only on a few geometrical features of the compactification manifold, and hence can be used independently of string theory.


Moduli Stabilisation and Applications in IIB String Theory

ArXiv (0)

JP Conlon

This article represents the author's PhD thesis. It describes moduli stabilisation in IIB string theory and applications to phenomenological topics. The first half of the thesis starts with an introductory review. It continues with an account of the statistics of complex structure moduli stabilisation before moving to Kahler moduli stabilisation. It describes in detail the large-volumes models and justifies the assumptions used in their construction. The second half of the thesis is concerned with applications to phenomenological topics. These include supersymmetry breaking and soft terms, inflationary model building and axions.


The string theory landscape: a tale of two hydras

Contemporary Physics 47 (2006) 119-129

JP Conlon


Seeing the Invisible Axion in the Sparticle Spectrum

ArXiv (0)

JP Conlon

I describe how under favourable circumstances the invisible axion may manifest its existence at the LHC through the sparticle spectrum; in particular through a gluino \sim \ln (M_P/m_{3/2}) times heavier than other gauginos.


Searches for 3.5 keV Absorption Features in Cluster AGN Spectra

ArXiv (0)

JP Conlon

We investigate possible evidence for a spectral dip around 3.5 keV in central cluster AGNs, motivated by previous results for archival Chandra observations of the Perseus cluster and the general interest in novel spectral features around 3.5 keV that may arise from dark matter physics. We use two deep Chandra observations of the Perseus and Virgo clusters that have recently been made public. In both cases, mild improvements in the fit ($\Delta \chi^2 = 4.2$ and $\Delta \chi^2 = 2.5$) are found by including such a dip at 3.5 keV into the spectrum. A comparable result ($\Delta \chi^2 = 6.5$) is found re-analysing archival on-axis Chandra ACIS-S observations of the centre of the Perseus cluster.


Radionovas: can black hole superradiance power Fast Radio Bursts?

ArXiv (0)

JP Conlon, CAR Herdeiro

Highly spinning Kerr black holes with masses $M = 1 - 100\ M_{\odot}$ are subject to an efficient superradiant instability in the presence of bosons with masses $\mu \sim 10^{-10} - 10^{-12} eV$. We observe that this precisely matches the effective plasma-induced photon mass in diffuse galactic or intracluster environments ($\omega_{pl} \sim 10^{-10} - 10^{-12}\ eV$). This suggests that bare Kerr black holes within galactic or intracluster environments, possibly even including the one produced in GW150914, are unstable to formation of a photon cloud that may contain a significant fraction of the mass of the original black hole. At maximal efficiency, the instability timescale for a massive vector is milliseconds, potentially leading to a transient rate of energy extraction from a black hole as large as $\sim 10^{55} erg \, s^{-1}$. We discuss mechanisms for releasing the energy in the photon cloud, including a possible connection to Fast Radio Bursts.

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