My research addresses one of the most pressing questions in physics: the nature of dark matter, which makes up more than 80% of all matter in the Universe. I search for yet undiscovered fundamental particles that could make up this mysterious substance using both laboratory experiments and observations of astrophysical objects.
In terms of lab experiments, my group contributes to the development, characterization, and data analysis of an extremely sensitive single photon counter at cryogenic temperatures. Such a quantum sensor is foreseen to be used in the upcoming Any Light Particle Search II (ALPS II). The ALPS II experiment is a so-called light-shining-through-the-wall experiment that aims to produce and detect so-called axions and axion-like particles with unprecedented sensitivity.
For astrophysical observations, I mainly focus on so-called blazars. These galaxies host a supermassive black hole in their center and produce power collimated outflows of particles traveling close to the speed of light. These cosmic light houses produce high-energy gamma-ray emission, which is one million times more energetic than X-rays. In my work, I investigate how axions and axion-like particles could impact the gamma-ray spectra of blazars. In addition, we study what gamma-ray observations could reveal about the star light produced over the history of the Universe and intergalactic magnetic fields.