A dark-matter hunter’s guide to the Galaxy (and beyond)



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Recording Details

Speaker(s): 
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PIRSA Number: 
16030123

Abstract

Understanding the microscopic nature of dark matter (DM) is one of the most outstanding problems facing modern physics. There is to-date no evidence for non-gravitational interactions of DM with the rest of the Standard Model and also no hint for any particular DM mass. My talk with focus on new techniques to search for GeV-TeV scale weakly-interacting DM by looking for DM annihilating in the cosmos into cosmic rays such as gamma-rays and neutrinos. These potential signs of new physics are easily confused with standard but poorly understood astrophysical backgrounds, such as populations of dim point sources (PSs) like millisecond pulsars. I will present new methods to characterize Galactic and extra-Galactic PS populations, which have complicated DM searches in these regions. I will show that accounting for unresolved PSs in Fermi gamma ray data leads both to new constraints on the dark sector along with some unexpected surprises. I will conclude by briefly describing a new idea for a laboratory experiment able to probe ultra-light axion DM, with masses some 20 orders of magnitude smaller than the weak scale.