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Journal Article

Direct detection of nuclear scattering of sub-Gev dark matter using molecular excitations


Pérez-Ríos,  Jesús
Molecular Physics, Fritz Haber Institute, Max Planck Society;

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Essig, R., Pérez-Ríos, J., Ramani, H., & Slone, O. (2019). Direct detection of nuclear scattering of sub-Gev dark matter using molecular excitations. Physical Review Research, 1(3): 033105. doi:10.1103/PhysRevResearch.1.033105.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0005-57BB-7
We propose a novel direct detection concept to search for dark matter with 100 keV to 100 MeV masses.Such dark matter can scatter off molecules in a gas and transfer anO(1) fraction of its kinetic energy to excitea vibrational and rotational state. The excited rovibrational mode relaxes rapidly and produces a spectacularmulti-infrared-photon signal, which can be observed with ultrasensitive photodetectors. We discuss in detail agas target consisting of carbon monoxide molecules, which enable efficient photon emission even at a relativelylow temperature and high vapor pressure. The emitted photons have an energy in the range 180 to 265 meV.By mixing together carbon monoxide molecules of different isotopes, including those with an odd numberof neutrons, we obtain sensitivity to both spin-independent interactions and spin-dependent interactions withthe neutron. We also consider hydrogen fluoride, hydrogen bromide, and scandium hydride molecules, whicheach provide sensitivity to spin-dependent interactions with the proton. The proposed detection concept can berealized with near-term technology and allows for the exploration of orders of magnitude of new dark matterparameter space.