skip to main content

Title: Electromagnetic signals of inelastic dark matter scattering
A bstract Light dark sectors in thermal contact with the Standard Model can naturally produce the observed relic dark matter abundance and are the targets of a broad experimental search program. A key light dark sector model is the pseudo-Dirac fermion with a dark photon mediator. The dynamics of the fermionic excited states are often neglected. We consider scenarios in which a nontrivial abundance of excited states is produced and their subsequent de-excitation yields interesting electromagnetic signals in direct detection experiments. We study three mechanisms of populating the excited state: a primordial excited fraction, a component up-scattered in the Sun, and a component up-scattered in the Earth. We find that the fractional abundance of primordial excited states is generically depleted to exponentially small fractions in the early universe. Nonetheless, this abundance can produce observable signals in current dark matter searches. MeV-scale dark matter with thermal cross sections and higher can be probed by down-scattering following excitation in the Sun. Up-scatters of GeV-scale dark matter in the Earth can give rise to signals in current and upcoming terrestrial experiments and X-ray observations. We comment on the possible relevance of these scenarios to the recent excess in XENON1T.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Journal of High Energy Physics
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. ABSTRACT We describe a search for gravitational waves from compact binaries with at least one component with mass $0.2$–$1.0 \, \mathrm{M}_\odot$ and mass ratio q ≥ 0.1 in Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) and Advanced Virgo data collected between 2019 November 1, 15:00 utc and 2020 March 27, 17:00 utc. No signals were detected. The most significant candidate has a false alarm rate of $0.2 \, \rm {yr}^{-1}$. We estimate the sensitivity of our search over the entirety of Advanced LIGO’s and Advanced Virgo’s third observing run, and present the most stringent limits to date on the merger rate of binary black holes with at least one subsolar-mass component. We use the upper limits to constrain two fiducial scenarios that could produce subsolar-mass black holes: primordial black holes (PBH) and a model of dissipative dark matter. The PBH model uses recent prescriptions for the merger rate of PBH binaries that include a rate suppression factor to effectively account for PBH early binary disruptions. If the PBHs are monochromatically distributed, we can exclude a dark matter fraction in PBHs $f_\mathrm{PBH} \gtrsim \, 0.6$ (at 90 per cent confidence) in the probed subsolar-mass range. However, if we allow for broad PBH mass distributions, we are unable to rule out fPBH = 1. For the dissipative model, where the dark matter has chemistry that allows a small fraction to cool and collapse into black holes, we find an upper bound fDBH < 10−5 on the fraction of atomic dark matter collapsed into black holes. 
    more » « less
  2. Abstract

    The flux of neutrinos from annihilation of gravitationally captured dark matter in the Sun has significant constraints from direct-detection experiments. However, these constraints are relaxed for inelastic dark matter as inelastic dark matter interactions generate less energetic nuclear recoils compared to elastic dark matter interactions. In this paper, we explore the possibility for large volume underground neutrino experiments to detect the neutrino flux from captured inelastic dark matter in the Sun. The neutrino spectrum has two components: a mono-energetic “spike” from pion and kaon decays at rest and a broad-spectrum “shoulder” from prompt primary meson decays. We focus on detecting the shoulder neutrinos from annihilation of hadrophilic inelastic dark matter with masses in the range 4–100 GeV and the mass splittings in up to 300 keV. We determine the event selection criterion for DUNE to identify GeV-scale muon neutrinos and anti-neutrinos originating from hadrophilic dark matter annihilation in the Sun, and forecast the sensitivity from contained events. We also map the current bounds from Super-Kamiokande and IceCube on elastic dark matter, as well as the projected limits from Hyper-Kamiokande, to the parameter space of inelastic dark matter. We find that there is a region of parameter space that these neutrino experiments are more sensitive to than the direct-detection experiments. For dark matter annihilation to heavy-quarks, the projected sensitivity of DUNE is weaker than current (future) Super (Hyper) Kamiokande experiments. However, for the light-quark channel, only the spike is observable and DUNE will be the most sensitive experiment.

    more » « less
  3. The hot dense environment of the early universe is known to have produced large numbers of baryons, photons, and neutrinos. These extreme conditions may have also produced other long-lived species, including new light particles (such as axions or sterile neutrinos) or gravitational waves. The gravitational effects of any such light relics can be observed through their unique imprint in the cosmic microwave background (CMB), the large-scale structure, and the primordial light element abundances, and are important in determining the initial conditions of the universe. We argue that future cosmological observations, in particular improved maps of the CMB on small angular scales, can be orders of magnitude more sensitive for probing the thermal history of the early universe than current experiments. These observations offer a unique and broad discovery space for new physics in the dark sector and beyond, even when its effects would not be visible in terrestrial experiments or in astrophysical environments. A detection of an excess light relic abundance would be a clear indication of new physics and would provide the first direct information about the universe between the times of reheating and neutrino decoupling one second later. 
    more » « less

    A recent letter studied cratering during collisions between rocky bodies and primordial black holes. Hydrodynamic simulations in that work showed that ejecta blankets from these collisions are steeper because the black holes completely penetrate the target, potentially making these craters distinguishable from traditional point-like impactors. This may allow us to use lunar craters to constrain primordial black holes in the asteroid-mass window, about 1017–1019 g. In this work, we calculate the lunar dark matter flux from the Galactic halo and several models for a dark disc. We consider several effects that may enhance the dark matter flux, such as gravitational focusing on the Solar system and historical modulations due to the Solar system’s galactic orbit. We find that non-detection of novel craters on the Moon can constrain relativistic compact MACHO dark matter up to 1017 g at 95 per cent confidence, motivating a detailed search through lunar surface scans. In addition, we show that fluxes near Earth from dark discs may be significantly enhanced by gravitational focusing and that the relative velocity between the disc and the Sun can result in annual modulations out of phase with the annual modulations from the halo.

    more » « less
  5. A bstract We explore the possibility of discovering the mirror baryons and electrons of the Mirror Twin Higgs model in direct detection experiments, in a scenario in which these particles constitute a subcomponent of the observed DM. We consider a framework in which the mirror fermions are sub-nano-charged, as a consequence of kinetic mixing between the photon and its mirror counterpart. We consider both nuclear recoil and electron recoil experiments. The event rates depend on the fraction of mirror DM that is ionized, and also on its distribution in the galaxy. Since mirror DM is dissipative, at the location of the Earth it may be in the form of a halo or may have collapsed into a disk, depending on the cooling rate. For a given mirror DM abundance we determine the expected event rates in direct detection experiments for the limiting cases of an ionized halo, an ionized disk, an atomic halo and an atomic disk. We find that by taking advantage of the complementarity of the different experiments, it may be possible to establish not just the multi-component nature of mirror dark matter, but also its distribution in the galaxy. In addition, a study of the recoil energies may be able to determine the masses and charges of the constituents of the mirror sector. By showing that the mass and charge of mirror helium are integer multiples of those of mirror hydrogen, these experiments have the potential to distinguish the mirror nature of the theory. We also carefully consider mirror plasma screening effects, showing that the capture of mirror dark matter particles in the Earth has at most a modest effect on direct detection signals. 
    more » « less