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  • 1.
    Baum, Sebastian
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physics. Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, The Oskar Klein Centre for Cosmo Particle Physics (OKC). Stockholm University, Nordic Institute for Theoretical Physics (Nordita).
    Drukier, Andrzej K.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physics. Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, The Oskar Klein Centre for Cosmo Particle Physics (OKC).
    Freese, Katherine
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physics. Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, The Oskar Klein Centre for Cosmo Particle Physics (OKC). Stockholm University, Nordic Institute for Theoretical Physics (Nordita). University of Michigan, USA.
    Górski, Maciej
    Stengel, Patrick
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physics. Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, The Oskar Klein Centre for Cosmo Particle Physics (OKC).
    Searching for Dark Matter with Paleo-DetectorsManuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    A large experimental program is underway to extend the sensitivity of direct detection experiments, searching for interactions of Dark Matter with nuclei, down to the neutrino floor. However, such experiments are becoming increasingly difficult and costly due to the large target masses and exquisite background rejection needed for the necessary improvements in sensitivity. We investigate an alternative approach to the detection of Dark Matter--nucleon interactions: Searching for the persistent traces left by Dark Matter scattering in ancient minerals obtained from much deeper than current underground laboratories. We estimate the sensitivity of paleo-detectors, which extends far beyond current upper limits for a wide range of Dark Matter masses.

  • 2.
    Drukier, Andrzej K.
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physics. Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, The Oskar Klein Centre for Cosmo Particle Physics (OKC).
    Baum, Sebastian
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physics. Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, The Oskar Klein Centre for Cosmo Particle Physics (OKC). Stockholm University, Nordic Institute for Theoretical Physics (Nordita).
    Freese, Katherine
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physics. Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, The Oskar Klein Centre for Cosmo Particle Physics (OKC). Stockholm University, Nordic Institute for Theoretical Physics (Nordita). University of Michigan, USA.
    Górski, Maciej
    Stengel, Patrick
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physics. Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, The Oskar Klein Centre for Cosmo Particle Physics (OKC).
    Paleo-detectors: Searching for Dark Matter with Ancient Minerals2019In: Physical Review D. Particles and fields, ISSN 0556-2821, E-ISSN 1089-4918, Vol. 99, no 4, article id 043014Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    We explore paleo-detectors as an approach to the direct detection of weakly interacting massive particle (WIMP) dark matter radically different from conventional detectors. Instead of instrumenting a (large) target mass in a laboratory in order to observe WIMP-induced nuclear recoils in real time, the approach is to examine ancient minerals for traces of WIMP-nucleus interactions recorded over timescales as large as 1 Gyr. Here, we discuss the paleo-detector proposal in detail, including background sources and possible target materials. In order to suppress backgrounds induced by radioactive contaminants such as uranium, we propose to use minerals found in marine evaporites or in ultrabasic rocks. We estimate the sensitivity of paleo-detectors to spin-independent and spin-dependent WIMP-nucleus interactions. The sensitivity to low-mass WIMPs with masses mχ≲10  GeV extends to WIMP-nucleon cross sections many orders of magnitude smaller than current upper limits. For heavier WIMPs with masses mχ≳30  GeV cross sections a factor of a few to ∼100 smaller than current upper limits can be probed by paleo-detectors.

  • 3. Edwards, Thomas D. P.
    et al.
    Kavanagh, Bradley J.
    Weniger, Christoph
    Baum, Sebastian
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physics. Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, The Oskar Klein Centre for Cosmo Particle Physics (OKC). Stockholm University, Nordic Institute for Theoretical Physics (Nordita).
    Drukier, Andrzej K.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physics. Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, The Oskar Klein Centre for Cosmo Particle Physics (OKC).
    Freese, Katherine
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physics. Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, The Oskar Klein Centre for Cosmo Particle Physics (OKC). Stockholm University, Nordic Institute for Theoretical Physics (Nordita). University of Michigan, USA.
    Górski, Maciej
    Stengel, Patrick
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physics. Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, The Oskar Klein Centre for Cosmo Particle Physics (OKC).
    Digging for dark matter: Spectral analysis and discovery potential of paleo-detectors2019In: Physical Review D. Particles and fields, ISSN 0556-2821, E-ISSN 1089-4918, Vol. 99, no 4, article id 043541Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Paleo-detectors are a recently proposed method for the direct detection of dark matter (DM). In such detectors, one would search for the persistent damage features left by DM–nucleus interactions in ancient minerals. Initial sensitivity projections have shown that paleo-detectors could probe much of the remaining weakly interacting massive particle (WIMP) parameter space. In this paper, we improve upon the cut-and-count approach previously used to estimate the sensitivity by performing a full spectral analysis of the background- and DM-induced signal spectra. We consider two scenarios for the systematic errors on the background spectra: (i) systematic errors on the normalization only, and (ii) systematic errors on the shape of the backgrounds. We find that the projected sensitivity is rather robust to imperfect knowledge of the backgrounds. Finally, we study how well the parameters of the true WIMP model could be reconstructed in the hypothetical case of a WIMP discovery.

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