Direct detection experiments are rapidly advancing in the search for sub-GeV dark matter. As energy thresholds become lower, the many-body physics of a target material becomes especially important in determining a dark matter signal. In this talk, I will discuss how dark matter interactions in dielectric materials can be understood in terms of the dielectric response, or energy loss function (ELF). This provides a useful framework for dark matter direct detection and also allows us to calculate some new effects. I will discuss various applications of this, including screening effects for dark matter electron scattering and the Migdal effect in semiconductors.
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