Matrix elements for the direct detection of dark matter

Astronomical evidence suggests that most of the mass of the universe is composed of weakly interacting dark matter. Such particles are not contained within the Standard Model of particle physics and a number of experiments worldwide are currently searching for evidence of their existence via the detection of scattering of these particles with quarks within nucleons. Once such events are observed, information on the underlying theory encompassing dark matter will be sought, e.g. by determining the coupling strength with quarks. As part of this project the nucleon scalar matrix elements that are essential for extracting the coupling strength from experiment will be computed using Lattice QCD. These matrix elements, along with others which will be computed, are connected to how the mass and the momentum of the nucleon arises from its quark and gluon constituents. Precise knowledge of this decomposition is relevant for many experiments involving nucleons, including the LHC at CERN.

  • Supervisor: Sara Collins (University of Regensburg)