General analysis of direct dark matter detection: From microphysics to observational signatures

James B. Dent, Lawrence M. Krauss, Jayden L. Newstead, Subir Sabharwal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


Beginning with a set of simplified models for spin-0, spin-12, and spin-1 dark matter candidates, we derive the full set of nonrelativistic operators and nuclear matrix elements relevant for direct detection of dark matter and use these to calculate rates and recoil spectra for scattering on various target nuclei. This allows us to explore what high energy physics constraints might be obtainable from direct detection experiments, what degeneracies exist, which operators are ubiquitous, and which are unlikely or subdominant. We find that there are operators which are common to all spins as well operators which are unique to spin-12 and spin-1 and elucidate two new operators which have not been previously considered. In addition we demonstrate how recoil energy spectra can distinguish fundamental microphysics if multiple target nuclei are used. Our work provides a complete road map for taking generic fundamental dark matter theories and calculating rates in direct detection experiments. This provides a useful guide for experimentalists designing experiments and theorists developing new dark matter models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number063515
JournalPhysical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 14 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'General analysis of direct dark matter detection: From microphysics to observational signatures'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this