Detection of sub-GeV dark matter and solar neutrinos via chemical-bond breaking

Rouven Essig, Jeremy Mardon, Oren Slone, Tomer Volansky

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


We explore a new low-threshold direct-detection concept for dark matter, based on the breaking of chemical bonds between atoms. This includes the dissociation of molecules and the creation of defects in a lattice. With thresholds of a few to 10s of eV, such an experiment could probe the nuclear couplings of dark matter particles as light as a few MeV. We calculate the expected rates for dark matter to break apart diatomic molecules, which we take as a case study for more general systems. We briefly mention ideas for how chemical-bond breaking might be detected in practice. We also discuss the possibility of detecting solar neutrinos, including pp neutrinos, with this experimental concept. With an event rate of O(0.1/kg-year), large exposures are required, but measuring low-energy solar neutrinos would provide a crucial test of the solar model.

Original languageEnglish
Article number056011
JournalPhysical Review D
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 2017


FundersFunder number
Horizon 2020 Framework Programme682676


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