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Published March 15, 2010 | Published
Journal Article Open

Implications of a scalar dark force for terrestrial experiments


A long-range intergalactic force between dark matter (DM) particles, mediated by an ultralight scalar, is tightly constrained by galactic dynamics and large scale structure formation. We examine the implications of such a ''dark force" for several terrestrial experiments, including Eötvös tests of the Weak Equivalence Principle (WEP), direct-detection DM searches, and collider studies. The presence of a dark force implies a nonvanishing effect in Eötvös tests that could be probed by current and future experiments depending on the DM model. For scalar DM that is a singlet under the standard model gauge groups, a dark force of astrophysically relevant magnitude is ruled out in large regions of parameter space by the DM relic density and WEP constraints. WEP tests also imply constraints on the Higgs-exchange contributions to the spin-independent (SI) DM-nucleus direct-detection cross section. For WIMP scenarios, these considerations constrain Higgs-exchange contributions to the SI cross section to be subleading compared to gauge-boson mediated contributions. In multicomponent DM scenarios, a dark force would preclude large shifts in the rate for Higgs decay to two photons associated with DM-multiplet loops that might otherwise lead to measurable deviations at the LHC or a future linear collider. The combination of observations from galactic dynamics, large scale structure formation, Eötvös experiments, DM-direct-detection experiments, and colliders can further constrain the size of new long-range forces in the dark sector.

Additional Information

© 2010 The American Physical Society. Received 20 October 2009; published 5 March 2010. We would like to thank Daniel Chung, Glennys Farrar, Jens Gundlach, Marc Kamionkowski, Thomas McElmurry, Frank Petriello, and Lian-Tao Wang for useful discussions. This work was supported in part by Department of Energy contracts DE-FG03-92-ER40701 and DE-FG02-08ER41531, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

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