Novel approaches in the Search for Dark Matter

Thomas Edwards, University of Amsterdam

Weekly Theory Seminar, and also part of the SDI seminar series.


The search for the particle nature of Dark Matter (DM) has made huge progress, ruling out vast swathes of the parameters space for a variety of models such as supersymmetric Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPs) and axions. Unfortunately, no signal has been confirmed to date. To proceed, new observational channels should be explored. In particular it is important to utilise current and future technologies such as next generation gravitational wave (GW) telescopes. In this talk I will explore two novel methods to probe the two most well motivated DM particle candidates, weakly interaction massive particles (WIMPs) and QCD axion DM.

Firstly, I will discuss how an intermediate mass black hole (IMBH) can form and maintain a dark matter density spike close to its surface. If this IMBH undergoes a merger with a stellar mass object, the GW signal will have a characteristic phase shift from the vacuum waveform, caused by dynamical friction on the smaller object. Moreover, if the stellar mass object is a young neutron star and DM is the QCD axion, the high magnetic field will allow for efficient DM-photon conversion. I will show that the square kilometre array could probe the entire natural QCD axion range between masses of 2e-7 and 3e-4 electron volts.

Secondly I will show how ancient minerals, buried deep underground, coined paleo-detectors, can be used as dark matter direct detection (DD) experiments. Traces of the interactions between nuclei and DM are recorded in the otherwise crystalline structure of the mineral, leaving distinct nano-meter scale tracks. I will show how the pattern of these tracks can be used to probe deeper into the WIMP DM parameter space than any other DD experiment to date. 

(The slides will be available here)

Published Apr. 26, 2019 3:09 PM - Last modified Apr. 26, 2019 3:09 PM