We propose the simplest possible renormalizable extension of the Standard Model - the addition of just one singlet scalar field - as a minimalist model for nonbaryonic dark matter. Such a model is characterized by only three parameters in addition to those already appearing within the Standard Model: a dimensionless self-coupling and a mass for the new scalar, and a dimensionless coupling, λ, to the Higgs field. If the singlet is the dark matter, these parameters are related to one another by the cosmological abundance constraint, implying that the coupling of the singlet to the Higgs field is large, λ∼O(0.1-1). Since this parameter also controls couplings to ordinary matter, we obtain predictions for the elastic cross section of the singlet with nuclei. The resulting scattering rates are close to current limits from both direct and indirect searches. The existence of the singlet also has implications for current Higgs searches, as it gives a large contribution to the invisible Higgs width for much of parameter space. These scalars can be strongly self-coupled in the cosmologically interesting sense recently proposed by Spergel and Steinhardt, but only for very low masses (≲1 GeV), which is possible only at the expense of some fine-tuning of parameters.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank G. Couture, T. Falk, L. Kofman, G.Mahlon, K. Olive, S. Rudaz and M. Voloshin for useful discussions and comments. M.P. wishes to thank the Physics Departments of McGill University and the University of Québec at Montréal, where a significant portion of this work was carried out. M.P. and T. t V.'s research was funded by the US Department of Energy under grant number DE-FG-02-94-ER-40823, and C.B. acknowledges the support of NSERC (Canada), FCAR (Québec) and the Ambrose Monell Foundation.