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Title: Prospects for dark matter detection with inelastic transitions of xenon

Abstract

Dark matter can scatter and excite a nucleus to a low-lying excitation in a direct detection experiment. This signature is distinct from the canonical elastic scattering signal because the inelastic signal also contains the energy deposited from the subsequent prompt de-excitation of the nucleus. A measurement of the elastic and inelastic signal will allow a single experiment to distinguish between a spin-independent and spin-dependent interaction. For the first time, we characterise the inelastic signal for two-phase xenon detectors in which dark matter inelastically scatters off the {sup 129}Xe or {sup 131}Xe isotope. We do this by implementing a realistic simulation of a typical tonne-scale two-phase xenon detector and by carefully estimating the relevant background signals. With our detector simulation, we explore whether the inelastic signal from the axial-vector interaction is detectable with upcoming tonne-scale detectors. We find that two-phase detectors allow for some discrimination between signal and background so that it is possible to detect dark matter that inelastically scatters off either the {sup 129}Xe or {sup 131}Xe isotope for dark matter particles that are heavier than approximately 100 GeV. If, after two years of data, the XENON1T search for elastic scattering nuclei finds no evidence for dark matter, themore » possibility of ever detecting an inelastic signal from the axial-vector interaction will be almost entirely excluded.« less

Authors:
 [1]
  1. GRAPPA Centre for Excellence,Institute for Theoretical Physics Amsterdam (ITFA), University of Amsterdam,Science Park 904 (Netherlands)
Publication Date:
Sponsoring Org.:
SCOAP3, CERN, Geneva (Switzerland)
OSTI Identifier:
22572079
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics; Journal Volume: 2016; Journal Issue: 05; Other Information: PUBLISHER-ID: JCAP05(2016)033; OAI: oai:repo.scoap3.org:15629; cc-by Article funded by SCOAP3. Content from this work may be used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Any further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the author(s) and the title of the work, journal citation and DOI.; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
46 INSTRUMENTATION RELATED TO NUCLEAR SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY; 79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; 71 CLASSICAL AND QUANTUM MECHANICS, GENERAL PHYSICS; COMPUTERIZED SIMULATION; DE-EXCITATION; ELASTIC SCATTERING; EXCITATION; GEV RANGE 10-100; INELASTIC SCATTERING; NONLUMINOUS MATTER; PARTICLE IDENTIFICATION; RADIATION DETECTION; XENON 129; XENON 131

Citation Formats

McCabe, Christopher. Prospects for dark matter detection with inelastic transitions of xenon. United States: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.1088/1475-7516/2016/05/033.
McCabe, Christopher. Prospects for dark matter detection with inelastic transitions of xenon. United States. doi:10.1088/1475-7516/2016/05/033.
McCabe, Christopher. 2016. "Prospects for dark matter detection with inelastic transitions of xenon". United States. doi:10.1088/1475-7516/2016/05/033.
@article{osti_22572079,
title = {Prospects for dark matter detection with inelastic transitions of xenon},
author = {McCabe, Christopher},
abstractNote = {Dark matter can scatter and excite a nucleus to a low-lying excitation in a direct detection experiment. This signature is distinct from the canonical elastic scattering signal because the inelastic signal also contains the energy deposited from the subsequent prompt de-excitation of the nucleus. A measurement of the elastic and inelastic signal will allow a single experiment to distinguish between a spin-independent and spin-dependent interaction. For the first time, we characterise the inelastic signal for two-phase xenon detectors in which dark matter inelastically scatters off the {sup 129}Xe or {sup 131}Xe isotope. We do this by implementing a realistic simulation of a typical tonne-scale two-phase xenon detector and by carefully estimating the relevant background signals. With our detector simulation, we explore whether the inelastic signal from the axial-vector interaction is detectable with upcoming tonne-scale detectors. We find that two-phase detectors allow for some discrimination between signal and background so that it is possible to detect dark matter that inelastically scatters off either the {sup 129}Xe or {sup 131}Xe isotope for dark matter particles that are heavier than approximately 100 GeV. If, after two years of data, the XENON1T search for elastic scattering nuclei finds no evidence for dark matter, the possibility of ever detecting an inelastic signal from the axial-vector interaction will be almost entirely excluded.},
doi = {10.1088/1475-7516/2016/05/033},
journal = {Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics},
number = 05,
volume = 2016,
place = {United States},
year = 2016,
month = 5
}
  • The XENON100 and CRESST experiments will directly test the inelastic dark matter explanation for DAMA's 8.9{sigma} anomaly. This article discusses how predictions for direct detection experiments depend on uncertainties in quenching factor measurements, the dark matter interaction with the Standard Model and the halo velocity distribution. When these uncertainties are accounted for, an order of magnitude variation is found in the number of expected events at CRESST and XENON100. The process of testing the DAMA anomaly highlights many of the challenges inherent to direct detection experiments. In addition to determining the properties of the unknown dark matter particle, direct detectionmore » experiments must also consider the unknown flux of the incident dark matter, as well as uncertainties in converting a signal from one target nucleus to another. The predictions for both the CRESST 2009 run and XENON100 2010 run show an order of magnitude uncertainty. The nuclear form factor for {sup 184}W, when combined with additional theoretical and experimental uncertainties, will likely prevent CRESST from refuting the iDM hypothesis with an exposure of {Omicron}(100 kg-d) in a model-independent manner. XENON100, on the other hand, will be able to make a definitive statement about a spin-independent, inelastically scattering dark matter candidate. Still, the CRESST 2009 data can potentially confirm iDM for a large range of parameter space. In case of a positive signal, the combined data from CRESST and XENON100 will start probing the properties of the Milky Way DM profile and the interaction of the SM with the dark matter.« less
  • The XENON100 and CRESST experiments will directly test the inelastic dark matter explanation for DAMA's 8.9{sigma} anomaly. This article discusses how predictions for direct detection experiments depend on uncertainties in quenching factor measurements, the dark matter interaction with the standard model, and the halo velocity distribution. When these uncertainties are accounted for, an order of magnitude variation is found in the number of expected events at CRESST and XENON100.
  • We show for the first time that the quenching of electronic excitation from nuclear recoils in liquid xenon is well-described by Lindhard theory, if the nuclear recoil energy is reconstructed using the combined (scintillation and ionization) energy scale proposed by Shutt et al.. We argue for the adoption of this perspective in favor of the existing preference for reconstructing nuclear recoil energy solely from primary scintillation. We show that signal partitioning into scintillation and ionization is well-described by the Thomas-Imel box model. We discuss the implications for liquid xenon detectors aimed at the direct detection of dark matter.