Dark matter detection in two easy steps

Maxim Pospelov, Neal Weiner, Itay Yavin

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    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
    Issue number5
    StatePublished - Mar 13 2014

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
    • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


    Dive into the research topics of 'Dark matter detection in two easy steps'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this