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High Energy Phenomenology, Experiment, and Cosmology Seminar Series artwork
October 12, 20224:00 pm – 5:00 pm (CDT)

Boosting Light Dark Matter with Cosmic Rays and Supernovae


Christopher Cappiello (Queen's University)


Doojin Kim



Mitchell Institute for Fundamental Physics & Astronomy

College Station, Texas 77843

Event Details

Direct detection experiments set strong constraints on scattering between dark matter (DM) and nuclei, but rapidly lose sensitivity when the DM mass falls below ~10 GeV. Such light DM traveling at typical halo velocities doesn't carry enough momentum to trigger traditional detectors, so new techniques or low-threshold detectors are needed for low-mass searches. However, for these small masses, a nonzero DM-nucleon cross section implies the existence of a high-energy sub-population of DM. Energetic Standard Model particles, such as cosmic rays or the particles in supernova ejecta, would upscatter DM to much higher energy, enhancing experimental sensitivity to low-mass particles. In this talk, I will start by discussing limits we set on cosmic ray-upscattered DM, including a careful treatment of attenuation and the resulting diurnal modulation of strongly-interacting DM. Then I will detail ongoing work on DM upscattering in supernova shocks, and show how this effect can be used to constrain velocity-dependent DM-nucleus scattering.

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