Modulation effects in dark matter-electron scattering experiments

Samuel K. Lee, Mariangela Lisanti, Siddharth Mishra-Sharma, Benjamin R. Safdi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

120 Scopus citations


One of the next frontiers in dark-matter direct-detection experiments is to explore the MeV to GeV mass regime. Such light dark matter does not carry enough kinetic energy to produce an observable nuclear recoil, but it can scatter off electrons, leading to a measurable signal. We introduce a semianalytic approach to characterize the resulting electron-scattering events in atomic and semiconductor targets, improving on previous analytic proposals that underestimate the signal at high recoil energies. We then use this procedure to study the time-dependent properties of the electron-scattering signal, including the modulation fraction, higher-harmonic modes and modulation phase. The time dependence can be distinct in a nontrivial way from the nuclear scattering case. Additionally, we show that dark-matter interactions inside the Earth can significantly distort the laboratory-frame phase-space distribution of sub-GeV dark matter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number083517
JournalPhysical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Oct 16 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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