We analyze the prospects for detection of light sub-GeV dark matter produced in experiments designed to study the properties of neutrinos, such as MiniBooNE, T2K, SHiP, DUNE etc. We present an improved production model, when dark matter couples to hadronic states via a dark photon or baryonic vector mediator, incorporating bremsstrahlung of the dark vector. In addition to elastic scattering, we also study signatures of light dark matter undergoing deep inelastic or quasielastic NCπ0-like scattering in the detector producing neutral pions, which for certain experiments may provide the best sensitivity. Supplemental Material provides extensive documentation for a publicly available simulation tool BdNMC that can be applied to determine the hidden sector dark matter production and scattering rate at a range of proton fixed target experiments.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank Brian Batell, in particular, for initial collaboration on the simulation code and related discussions. We also thank Walter Bonivento, Ranjan Dharmapalan, Andrei Golutvin, Martin Hoferichter, Akira Konaka, Corina Nantais, Hiro Tanaka, Rex Tayloe, Tyler Thornton, Richard Van de Water, and other members of MiniBooNE, T2K and SHiP for many helpful discussions. The work of C.-Y.C., P.dN., M.P. and A.R. is supported in part by Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), Canada, and research at the Perimeter Institute is supported in part by the Government of Canada through NSERC and by the Province of Ontario through Ministry of Economic Development & Trade (MEDT).