Design for a practical laboratory detector for solar axions.
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We present a practical design for a detector sensitive to axions and other light particles with a two-photon interaction vertex. Such particles would be produced in the solar interior by Primakoff conversion of blackbody photons and could be detected by their reconversion into x rays (average energy about 4 keV) in a strong laboratory magnetic field. An existing large superconducting magnet would be suitable for this purpose. The transition rate is enhanced by filling the conversion region with a buffer gas (H2 or He). This induces an effective photon mass (plasma frequency) which can be adjusted to equal the axion mass being searched for. Axion-photon conversion is then coherent throughout the detector volume for all axion energies. Axions with mass in the range 0.1 eVma5 eV can be detected using gas pressures of 0.1300 atm. Axions with the standard coupling strength to photons would give counting rates of 10-510 sec-1 over this mass range. The search would definitively test one of the only two regions of axion parameters not excluded by astrophysical constraints. 1989 The American Physical Society.