Ordinary atom-mirror atom bound states: A new window on the mirror world

Authors: R. Foot, S. Mitra
Comments: about 8 pages, couple of changes

Mirror symmetry is a plausible candidate for a fundamental symmetry of particle interactions which can be exactly conserved if a set of mirror particles exist. The properties of the mirror particles seem to provide an excellent candidate to explain the inferred dark matter of the Universe and might also be responsible for a variety of other puzzles in particle physics, astrophysics, meteoritics and planetary science. One such puzzle -- the orthopositronium lifetime problem -- can be explained if there is a small kinetic mixing of ordinary and mirror photons. We show that this kinetic mixing implies the existence of ordinary atom - mirror atom bound states with interesting terrestrial and astrophysical implications. We suggest that sensitive mass spectroscopic studies of ordinary samples containing heavy elements such as lead might reveal the presence of these bound states, as they would appear as anomalously heavy elements. In addition to the effects of single mirror atoms, collective effects from embedded fragments of mirror matter (such as mirror iron microparticles) are also possible. We speculate that such mirror matter fragments might explain a mysterious UV photon burst observed coming from a laser irradiated lead target in a recent experiment.

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