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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Accelerating thermalized dark matter with beams and light Moore, Marianne

Abstract

The existence of dark matter is ubiquitous in cosmological data, yet numerous particle detectors have been thoroughly looking for it without any success. Many searches focus on weakly interacting massive particles and have put tight bounds on their potential mass and interaction strength. There are other viable candidates, with different masses and interaction strength that can be probed with current experiments. Strongly interacting dark matter is a type of dark matter which scatters with protons and neutrons through a larger cross section than the weak nuclear force. For this type of dark matter, the experimental bounds are actually very weak; as dark matter enters the atmosphere, it scatters and slows down, such that it has a much lower velocity than the detector threshold when it reaches underground laboratories. In this case, however, it would accumulate within the Earth and reach a density much greater than the average in the solar neighbourhood. This thesis describes a scheme for adapting present-day underground nuclear physics experiments to detect dark matter within this context. In particular, accumulated dark matter can be up-scattered to resolvable energies using underground nuclear accelerators, such as LUNA in Gran Sasso, and measured in nearby low-background detectors. Another venue is to make use of high temperature in thermal sources. The heated gas inside the thermal source can send the dark matter flying with a large velocity toward a detector. Together, nuclear accelerators and thermal sources are promising approaches to hunt for dark matter.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International

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