Superconducting targets have recently been proposed for the direct detection of dark matter as light as a keV, via elastic scattering off conduction electrons in Cooper pairs. Detecting such light dark matter requires sensitivity to energies as small as the superconducting gap of O(meV). Here we show that these same superconducting devices can detect much lighter DM, of meV to eV mass, via dark matter absorption on a conduction electron, followed by emission of an athermal phonon. We demonstrate the power of this setup for relic kinetically mixed hidden photons, pseudoscalars, and scalars, showing that the reach can exceed current astrophysical and terrestrial constraints with only a moderate exposure.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank John Clarke, Adolfo Grushin, Roni Ilan, Maxim Pospelov, and Jakub Scholtz for useful discussions. Y. H. and K. Z. thank Matt Pyle and Yue Zhao for collaboration on their earlier work establishing superconductors as viable DM detectors. We thank Yue Zhao for comments on the manuscript. Y. H. is supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) under Grant No. PHY-1002399. T. L. is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Award No. DE-AC02-05CH11231 and NSF Grant No. PHY-1316783. K. Z. is supported by the DOE under Award No. DE-AC02-05CH11231.
© 2016 American Physical Society.