High Energy Theory seminar: "Direct Detection of sub-GeV Dark Matter: A New Frontier"

Mon, 02/25/2019 - 14:00 - 16:00
Rouven Essig, Stony Brook University

Dark matter makes up 85% of the matter in our Universe, but we have yet to learn its identity.  While most experimental searches focus on Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPs) with masses above the proton (about 1 GeV/c^2), it is important to also consider other motivated dark-matter candidates.  Indeed, over the last decade, the theoretical landscape of possible dark-matter candidates has expanded significantly to consider masses from 10^-22 eV/c^2 up to the Planck mass, and even higher in the case of composite dark matter.  At the same time, many novel dark-matter detection concepts have been put forward.  

In this talk, I will discuss the search for dark matter with masses between about 500 keV/c^2 and 1 GeV/c^2.  This range of masses is theoretically well-motivated and presents a new frontier in the search for dark matter that has seen tremendous progress in the last few years.  I will describe a few direct-detection strategies that can probe this under-explored mass range.  In particular, I will highlight SENSEI, a funded experiment that will use new ultra-low-threshold silicon CCD detectors (“Skipper CCDs”).  I will describe the first results from SENSEI and show how this experiment will probe vast new regions of parameter space in the next few years.

David Rittenhouse Laboratory, A8