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Title: Aspects of dark matter phenomenology
Author: McCabe, Christopher
ISNI:       0000 0004 2721 0585
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2011
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Identifying the relic particles that constitute the cold dark matter in our Universe is an outstanding problem in astro-particle physics. Direct detection experiments are among the most promising methods of detecting particle dark matter through non-gravitational interactions. In this thesis, the usual assumptions made when calculating the event rate at direct detection experiments are examined. Varying astrophysical parameters and the dark matter velocity distribution leads to significant changes in acceptance regions and exclusion curves for scenarios in which the tail of the velocity distribution is sampled; this includes 'light dark matter' (mass less than 10 GeV) and 'inelastic dark matter'. The DAMA and CoGeNT collaborations both report an annual modulation in their event rate that they attribute to dark matter. Two analyses of these experiments are performed. In the first, it is shown that these experiments can be compatible with each other and with the constraints from other direct detection experiments. This requires some isospin violation in the couplings of dark matter to protons and neutrons and a small inelastic splitting to boost the modulation fraction. The second analysis provides a comparison of the modulation signals free from all astrophysical parameters, under the assumption that dark matter scatters elastically. Again it is found that some isospin violation and a boosted modulation fraction is required in order that DAMA and CoGeNT are consistent with all experiments. A boosted modulation fraction may arise from a velocity distribution different from the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution, which is usually assumed. Finally, a supersymmetric theory in which the dark matter candidate is a mixture of left- and right-handed sneutrino is considered. This theory has many novel signatures at colliders, indirect detection and direct detection experiments.
Supervisor: March-Russell, John Sponsor: Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Elementary particle theory ; Theoretical physics ; Astrophysics (theoretical) ; dark matter ; supersymmetry