Hypothetical oscillations of probe photons into axion-like particles might be revealed by exploiting the strong fields of high-intensity laser pulses. Considering an arbitrary plane-wave background, we determine the polarization tensor induced by the quantum fluctuations of the axion field and use it to calculate how the polarimetric properties of an initially linear-polarized probe beam are modified. We find that various experimental setups based on contemporary facilities and instrumentation might lead to new exclusion bounds on the parameter space of these particle candidates. The impact of the pulse shape on the discovery potential is studied via a comparison between the cases in which the wave is modulated by a Gaussian envelope and a sin2 profile. This analysis shows that the upper limits resulting from the ellipticity are relatively insensitive to this change, whereas those arising from the rotation of the polarization plane turn out to be more dependent on the field shape.
Villalba-Chávez, S., Podszus, T., & Müller, C. (2017). Polarization-operator approach to optical signatures of axion-like particles in strong laser pulses. Physics Letters, Section B: Nuclear, Elementary Particle and High-Energy Physics, 769, 233–241. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.physletb.2017.03.043