Dark matter detection in two easy steps

Maxim Pospelov, Neal Weiner, Itay Yavin

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Multicomponent dark matter particles may have a more intricate direct detection signal than simple elastic scattering on nuclei. In a broad class of well-motivated models, the inelastic excitation of dark matter particles is followed by de-excitation via γ decay. In experiments with fine energy resolution, such as many 0ν2β decay experiments, this motivates a highly model-independent search for the sidereal daily modulation of an unexpected γ line. Such a signal arises from a two-step weakly interacting massive particle (WIMP) interaction: the WIMP is first excited in the lead shielding and subsequently decays back to the ground state via the emission of a monochromatic γ within the detector volume. We explore this idea in detail by considering the model of magnetic inelastic WIMPs and take a sequence of CUORE-type detectors as an example. We find that under reasonable assumptions about detector performance it is possible to efficiently explore mass splittings of up to a few hundred keV for a WIMP of weak-scale mass and transitional magnetic moments. The modulation can be cheaply and easily enhanced by the presence of additional asymmetric lead shielding. We devise a toy simulation to show that a specially designed asymmetric shielding may result in up to 30% diurnal modulations of the two-step WIMP signal, leading to additional strong gains in sensitivity.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Article number055008
    JournalPhysical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology
    Volume89
    Issue number5
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Mar 13 2014

    Fingerprint

    weakly interacting massive particles
    dark matter
    shielding
    modulation
    detectors
    decay
    signal detection
    particle interactions
    excitation
    elastic scattering
    magnetic moments
    nuclei
    ground state
    sensitivity
    simulation

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Nuclear and High Energy Physics

    Cite this

    Dark matter detection in two easy steps. / Pospelov, Maxim; Weiner, Neal; Yavin, Itay.

    In: Physical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology, Vol. 89, No. 5, 055008, 13.03.2014.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Pospelov, Maxim ; Weiner, Neal ; Yavin, Itay. / Dark matter detection in two easy steps. In: Physical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology. 2014 ; Vol. 89, No. 5.
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