Theory Colloquium

Thermal Relic Exceptions

by Joshua Thomas Ruderman (NYU)

4-3-006 - TH Conference Room (CERN)

4-3-006 - TH Conference Room


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Dark matter may be a thermal relic: a particle that had a temperature in the early Universe.  The observed abundance of dark matter can be explained by a thermal relic that annihilates with a weak scale cross section.  This so-called “WIMP miracle” points to a dark matter mass near the TeV scale.  However, dramatic improvements in the sensitivity of direct detection experiments targeting TeV scale dark matter, and the lack of a discovery so far, motivates exploration beyond the WIMP.  I will discuss how simple deformations to the usual assumptions underlying the WIMP miracle point to thermal relic dark matter with an exponentially lighter mass, and different interactions, than the WIMP.  I will introduce models where dark matter annihilates into heavier states (“forbidden dark matter”) and models where the dark matter abundance is set by inelastic scattering instead of annihilations (“coscattering").  Each of these scenarios points to experimental prospects that differ from those of the WIMP.

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