2020 Hellman Fellow
Assistant Professor, Physics
UC San Diego
Project title: New Signatures of Particle Dark Matter in Low-Threshold Detectors
Project description: Understanding the fundamental properties of dark matter is one of the major problems in physics today, and making progress relies on detection of its interactions with ordinary matter. This research proposal centers on a materials science approach towards the detection and discovery of dark matter. By accounting for how the dark matter in our galaxy can excite collective modes in target materials, the detection prospects for dark matter can be significantly enhanced. This research will identify and characterize signals of dark matter interactions in solid state materials, through excitations such as plasmons, electronic transitions, phonons, and others. The result of this theoretical work is needed to inform the rapid progress in low-threshold direct detection experiments, which aim to detect low mass dark matter in the coming years.