Toward a model-independent interpretation of Dark Matter direct detection data

November 7, 2016
3:00pm to 4:00pm

IFT Seminar Room/Red Room

Theoretical Physics, general interest
Stefano Scopel
Sogang U. Korea

IFT Seminar Room/Red Room


Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPs) are considered the most natural candidates to provide the Dark Matter (DM) in the halo of our Galaxy, and the search for their recoils off nuclear targets represents the most direct way to detect them. Many underground experiments using different materials are strongly pursuing this task, with an impressive improvement of the experimental sensitivities but somewhat confusing and apparently contradictory results. In the first part of my talk I will argue that we still miss a model independent approach to interpret direct detection data without the bias of theoretical prejudice, and show that this may challenge the robustness of some of the conclusions that are universally drawn from the present experimental situation, as well as jeopardize our capability to use indirect detection and accelerator physics to confirm a signal if it is observed and eventually shed light on the physics behind DM. I will then discuss the recent progress in developing model-independent techniques that remove the two main sources of theoretical bias: the scaling law of the WIMP-nucleus cross section off different targets, and the WIMP velocity distribution in our Galaxy.