A fraction of the dark matter may consist of a particle species that interacts much more strongly with the Standard Model than a typical weakly interacting massive particle (WIMP) of similar mass. Such a strongly interacting dark matter component could have avoided detection in searches for WIMP-like dark matter through its interactions with the material in the atmosphere and the Earth that slow it down significantly before reaching detectors underground. These same interactions can also enhance the density of a strongly interacting dark matter species near the Earth's surface to well above the local galactic dark matter density. In this work, we propose two new methods of detecting strongly interacting dark matter based on accelerating the enhanced population expected in the Earth through scattering. The first approach is to use underground nuclear accelerator beams to upscatter the ambient dark matter population into a WIMP-style detector located downstream. In the second technique, dark matter is upscattered with an intense thermal source and detected with a low-threshold dark matter detector. We also discuss potential candidates for strongly interacting dark matter, and we show that the scenario can be naturally realized with a hidden fermion coupled to a sub-GeV dark photon.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank Joseph Bramante, Ranny Budnik, Timon Emken, Andréa Gaspert, Pietro Giampa, Gopolang Mohlabeng, Nirmal Raj, and Aaron Vincent for helpful discussions. D. M. and D. M. are supported by Discovery Grants from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). TRIUMF receives federal funding via a contribution agreement with the National Research Council (NRC) of Canada. M. M. acknowledges support by NSERC, the Fonds de Recherche du Québec—Nature et Technologies (FRQNT) (Grants No. 273327 and No. 305494), and the Arthur Kerman Fellowship fund. M. P. is supported in part by U.S. Department of Energy Grant No. desc0011842. H. R. acknowledges the support from the Simons Investigator Grant No. 824870, DOE Grant No. DE-SC0012012, NSF Grant No. PHY2014215, DOE HEP QuantISED Award No. 100495, and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Grant No. GBMF7946.
© 2022 authors. Published by the American Physical Society.