Department of Physics & Astronomy
University of New Mexico

Nuclear, Particle, Astroparticle and Cosmology (NUPAC) Seminars

Directionality, the Migdal Effect and Low Mass WIMPs?

Presented by Dinesh Loomba, UNM

The WIMP direction at Earth undergoes a diurnal modulation that, if detected, would provide one of the most powerful and unambiguous signatures for the discovery of dark matter. Despite a strong experimental effort across the world, the gap in sensitivity between directional and non-directional experiments has widened in the last decade. But recent theoretical interest in low mass WIMPs (~MeV – GeV) and the prediction of an irreducible background from solar neutrinos have revived interest in experiments with directional sensitivity. Although extremely challenging, such experiments would provide the most robust path beyond this so called ‘neutrino-floor’.

In this talk I use the neutrino floor to motivate the case for directionality, and describe some results from R&D at UNM on directional detection. I also describe a quantum-mechanical effect predicted in 1941 by Migdal that has, just in the past year, been used to extend experimental sensitivity to very low, ~50 MeV/c^2, WIMP masses. Finally, I show how a potential novel directional signature in the Migdal effect could allow experiments such as ours to search for low mass WIMPs, even under the neutrino-floor.

2:00 pm, Tuesday, October 8, 2019
PANDA-190/PAIS-2540, Physics & Astronomy
Northeast corner of Lomas and Yale, Albuquerque, New Mexico

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A schedule of talks within the Department of Physics and Astronomy is available on the P&A web site at http://physics.unm.edu/pandaweb/events/index.php