Direct Detection of Sub-GeV Dark Matter
Direct Detection of Sub-GeV Dark Matter Direct detection strategies are proposed for dark matter particles with MeV to GeV mass. In this largely unexplored mass range, dark matter scattering with electrons can cause single-electron ionization signals, which are detectable with current technology. Ultraviolet photons, individual ions, and heat are interesting alternative signals. Focusing on ionization, we calculate the expected dark matter scattering rates and estimate the sensitivity of possible experiments. Backgrounds that may be relevant are discussed. Theoretically interesting models can be probed with existing technologies, and may even be within reach using ongoing direct detection experiments. Significant improvements in sensitivity should be possible with dedicated experiments, opening up a window to new regions in dark matter parameter space.
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