Physical Review D 70,6 (2004) 067101 ;
The coupling of the electromagnetic field directly with gravitational gauge fields leads to new physical effects that can be tested using astronomical data. Here we consider a particular case for closer scrutiny, a specific nonminimal coupling of torsion to electromagnetism, which enters into a metric-affine geometry of space-time. We show that under the assumption of this nonminimal coupling, space-time is birefringent in the presence of such a gravitational field. This leads to the depolarization of light emitted from extended astrophysical sources. We use polarimetric data of the magnetic white dwarf RE J0317-853 to set, for the very first time, constraints on the essential coupling constant for this effect, giving k(2)less than or similar to(19 m)(2).
equivalence principle;; invariance;; breaking;; torsion;; fields
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