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Symmetron Fields: Screening Long-Range Forces Through Local Symmetry Restoration

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Published Article
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DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.104.231301
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arXiv
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Abstract

We present a screening mechanism that allows a scalar field to mediate a long range (~Mpc) force of gravitational strength in the cosmos while satisfying local tests of gravity. The mechanism hinges on local symmetry restoration in the presence of matter. In regions of sufficiently high matter density, the field is drawn towards \phi = 0 where its coupling to matter vanishes and the \phi-> -\phi symmetry is restored. In regions of low density, however, the symmetry is spontaneously broken, and the field couples to matter with gravitational strength. We predict deviations from general relativity in the solar system that are within reach of next-generation experiments, as well as astrophysically observable violations of the equivalence principle. The model can be distinguished experimentally from Brans-Dicke gravity, chameleon theories and brane-world modifications of gravity.

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