Diamond detectors for direct detection of sub-GeV dark matter

Noah Kurinsky, To Chin Yu, Yonit Hochberg, Blas Cabrera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


We propose using high-purity lab-grown diamond crystal for the detection of sub-giga electron volt dark matter. Diamond targets can be sensitive to both nuclear and electron recoils from dark matter scattering in the mega-electron-volt and above mass range as well as to absorption processes of dark matter with masses between sub-electron volts to tens of electron volts. Compared to other proposed semiconducting targets such as germanium and silicon, diamond detectors can probe lower dark matter masses via nuclear recoils due to the lightness of the carbon nucleus. The expected reach for electron recoils is comparable to that of germanium and silicon, with the advantage that dark counts are expected to be under better control. Via absorption processes, unconstrained QCD axion parameter space can be successfully probed in diamond for masses of order 10 eV, further demonstrating the power of our approach.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number123005
JournalPhysical Review D
Issue number12
StatePublished - 10 Jun 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank Dan Bauer, Paul Brink, Scott Hertel, Lauren Hsu, Matt Pyle, and Kathryn Zurek for useful discussions about the feasibility of diamond as a detector material; Rouven Essig and Tien-Tien Yu for help with QEDark and advice related to setting electron-recoil limits; Jason Pioquinto and Tarek Saab for neutrino floor calculations in carbon; and Paolo Privitera and Yoni Kahn for discussions related to backgrounds. We also thank Alissa Monte for detailed comments on an early draft of this paper and Betty Young for subsequent feedback. The work of Y. H. is supported by the Israel Science Foundation (Grant No. 1112/17), by the Binational Science Foundation (Grant No. 2016155), by the I-CORE Program of the Planning Budgeting Committee (Grant No. 1937/12), by the German Israel Foundation (Grant No. I-2487-303.7/2017), and by the Azrieli Foundation. T. C. Y. acknowledges support by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of High-energy physics. This document was prepared by N. K. using the resources of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), a U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, High-energy physics User Facility. Fermilab is managed by Fermi Research Alliance, LLC (Fermi Research Alliance), acting under Contract No. DE-AC02-07CH11359.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 authors. Published by the American Physical Society.


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