Recent Development and Prospects in Dark Matter Research

A special issue of Universe (ISSN 2218-1997). This special issue belongs to the section "Cosmology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 May 2024) | Viewed by 2802

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Guest Editor
Gran Sasso Science Institute, L'Aquila, Italy
Interests: direct dark matter and neutrinos searches; fundamental physics; new physics beyond the standard model

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The presence of dark matter (DM) in the Universe is now an established, yet still mysterious, paradigm: deciphering its essence is one of the most compelling and fascinating tasks for fundamental physics today. The last few decades have seen enormous advances in direct DM search, which has led to many orders of magnitude improvement for high >10 GeV/c 2 DM masses down to 10-46 cm2 for spin-independent cross section. Unfortunately, no signal evidence has yet been found, except for the long-standing and extensively debated nuclear recoil yield annual modulation claimed by the DAMA/LIBRA experiment. Given the current lack of experimental evidence from indirect, direct and collider searches, the DM sub-GeV/c2 mass region has recently received renewed attention and now represents a new research frontier. In this mass region, the extremely low recoil energy deposited in the target medium can be smaller than detection thresholds, and is additionally suppressed by the quenching of nuclear interactions. In order to circumvent this obstacle, some new promising detection strategies involving new modes of operation (e.g., skipper readout, Neganov–Trofimov–Luke boosted phonon signal) and/or new signatures (e.g., the Migdal effect, DM scattering off bound electrons) have recently arisen. In this context, recent years have seen several experiments (with techniques ranging from noble liquids to scintillating bolometers) reporting observed excesses of unexpected low-energy events not compatible with the DM hypothesis. Experimental direct DM searches have hence reached a level of maturity and complexity for which the detectors’ response to signal and the experimental backgrounds need to be understood and controlled at unprecedented levels, in order to avoid the appearance of unexplained excesses. In addition, experiments will soon reach the infamous neutrino fog, beyond which the return on investment in increasing exposure will no longer be favorable. In this context, the measurement of the DM scattering directionality provides a powerful tool to deal with known and unknown backgrounds, and can offer a unique key for the positive unambiguous identification of a DM interaction, with directional techniques having demonstrated the technological readiness to build experiments with competitive sensitivity. With ton-scale detectors at the verge of closing down the “classical” parameter space between 10 GeV/c2 and 1 TeV/c2 DM mass down to neutrinos, and in parallel innovative approaches trying to expand the search to yet uncharted parameter spaces (i.e., MeV DM masses and electron recoil signatures) and yet-unexploited complementary information (i.e., directionality), the DM direct search field is still extremely fervid and strongly determined to probe the DM hypothesis to its full extent.

Prof. Dr. Elisabetta Baracchini
Guest Editor

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Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

12 pages, 2683 KiB  
Article
A Simple Model of the Energy Threshold for Snowball Chambers
by Matthew Szydagis, Cecilia Levy, Aleksey E. Bolotnikov, Milind V. Diwan, George J. Homenides, Alvine C. Kamaha, Joshua Martin, Richard Rosero and Minfang Yeh
Universe 2024, 10(2), 81; https://doi.org/10.3390/universe10020081 - 8 Feb 2024
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Abstract
Cloud and bubble chambers have historically been used for particle detection, capitalizing on supersaturation and superheating, respectively. Here, we present new results from a prototype snowball chamber, in which an incoming particle triggers the crystallization of a purified, supercooled liquid. We demonstrate, for [...] Read more.
Cloud and bubble chambers have historically been used for particle detection, capitalizing on supersaturation and superheating, respectively. Here, we present new results from a prototype snowball chamber, in which an incoming particle triggers the crystallization of a purified, supercooled liquid. We demonstrate, for the first time, simulation agreement with our first results from 5 years ago: the higher temperature of the freezing of water and significantly shorter time spent supercooled compared to the control in the presence of a Cf-252 fission neutron source. This is accomplished by combining Geant4 modeling of neutron interactions with the Seitz nucleation model used in superheated bubble chambers, including those seeking dark matter. We explore the possible implications of using this new technology for GeV-scale WIMP searches, especially in terms of spin-dependent proton coupling, and report the first supercooling of WbLS (water-based liquid scintillator). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Development and Prospects in Dark Matter Research)
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9 pages, 6960 KiB  
Article
Scintillating Bubble Chambers for Rare Event Searches
by Ernesto Alfonso-Pita, Edward Behnke, Matthew Bressler, Benjamin Broerman, Kenneth Clark, Jonathan Corbett, C. Eric Dahl, Koby Dering, Austin de St. Croix, Daniel Durnford, Pietro Giampa, Jeter Hall, Orin Harris, Hector Hawley-Herrera, Christopher M. Jackson, Youngtak Ko, Noah Lamb, Mathieu Laurin, Ilan Levine, W. Hugh Lippincott, Xingxin Liu, Russell Neilson, Marie-Cécile Piro, Shashank Priya, Daniel Pyda, Zhiheng Sheng, Gary Sweeney, Eric Vázquez-Jáuregui, Shawn Westerdale, Thomas J. Whitis, Alexander Wright, Wei Zha and Ryan Zhangadd Show full author list remove Hide full author list
Universe 2023, 9(8), 346; https://doi.org/10.3390/universe9080346 - 25 Jul 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1117
Abstract
The Scintillating Bubble Chamber (SBC) collaboration is developing liquid-noble bubble chambers for the detection of sub-keV nuclear recoils. These detectors benefit from the electron recoil rejection inherent in moderately-superheated bubble chambers with the addition of energy reconstruction provided from the scintillation signal. The [...] Read more.
The Scintillating Bubble Chamber (SBC) collaboration is developing liquid-noble bubble chambers for the detection of sub-keV nuclear recoils. These detectors benefit from the electron recoil rejection inherent in moderately-superheated bubble chambers with the addition of energy reconstruction provided from the scintillation signal. The ability to measure low-energy nuclear recoils allows the search for GeV-scale dark matter and the measurement of coherent elastic neutrino-nucleus scattering on argon from MeV-scale reactor antineutrinos. The first physics-scale detector, SBC-LAr10, is in the commissioning phase at Fermilab, where extensive engineering and calibration studies will be performed. In parallel, a functionally identical low-background version, SBC-SNOLAB, is being built for a dark matter search underground at SNOLAB. SBC-SNOLAB, with a 10 kg-yr exposure, will have sensitivity to a dark matter–nucleon cross section of 2×1042 cm2 at 1 GeV/c2 dark matter mass, and future detectors could reach the boundary of the argon neutrino fog with a tonne-yr exposure. In addition, the deployment of an SBC detector at a nuclear reactor could enable neutrino physics investigations including measurements of the weak mixing angle and searches for sterile neutrinos, the neutrino magnetic moment, and the light Z’ gauge boson. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Development and Prospects in Dark Matter Research)
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