One of the major challenges in modern physics is to decipher the nature of dark matter (DM) – the invisible mass in our Universe. One leading hypothesis is that DM consists of yet undetected particles called WIMPs. If the hypothesis is correct, WIMPs might soon be detected with existing experimental techniques. This makes the development of WIMP data interpretation strategies a priority in the field. However, current strategies to interpret a hypothetical WIMP signal would only allow to determine DM mass and coupling constants. In contrast, the DM particle spin would remain unconstrained. This is a serious limitation, since WIMP statistics and interactions strongly depend upon spin. This project will develop the first program for the empirical determination of the DM particle spin. To achieve this goal, I will develop: 1) New models for WIMPs with so far ignored spin values; 2) A computer program to investigate them; 3) A set of strategies to extract the WIMP spin from future direct and collider data. In the last part of the project, I will revisit my assumptions and investigate how the spin affects the properties of DM in models different from WIMP DM. Methods used in the project include a novel application of gauge and effective theories to DM. If DM is discovered, the project will prepare us to spearhead the particle interpretation of the discovery. If WIMP DM is not discovered, this project will generate new knowledge by shedding novel insights into DM modelling.
Associate Professor at Chalmers, Physics, Subatomic and Plasma Physics
Funding Chalmers participation during 2019–2022