Astro-, Particle and Nuclear Physics of Dark Matter Direct Detection

06 - 31 March 2017

Riccardo Catena, Jan Conrad, Christian Forssén, Alejandro Ibarra, Federica Petricca

The cosmological structures that we observe in the Universe can only form if a dissipation-less cosmic component known as dark matter exists and clusters in spheroidal halos hosting the majority of the visible astrophysical structures. This consideration has inspired complementary strategies to reveal whether dark matter has a particle nature or not.

The experimental technique known as direct detection will play a pivotal role in shedding light on the nature of dark matter during the next decade. It searches for nuclear recoil events induced by the scattering of Milky Way dark matter particles in low-background detectors. At the same time, it is a formidable tool to explore the local distribution of dark matter in our Galaxy.

Yet, the currently favored paradigm in the quest for dark matter does not fully exploit the already proved potential of direct detection experiments. In particular, the available data are commonly interpreted within simplistic assumptions regarding the dark matter scattering by nuclei, and the distribution of dark matter in the Galaxy.

In our MIAPP programme, we plan to revisit the currently favored paradigm for dark matter direct detection through a steady dialog between theoretical and experimental experts in astro-, particle and nuclear physics. Fostering substantial progress in the theory of dark matter scattering by nuclei, and in dark matter astronomy, we aim at drastically improving the present strategies for direct detection data analysis.

The envisaged discussions will be beneficial for the three scientific communities involved in the programme, as a result of a joint effort across traditional scientific boundaries.