School of Physics - Theses

Permanent URI for this collection

Search Results

Now showing 1 - 1 of 1
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Interacting dark matter: decay and bremsstrahlung processes
    Galea, Ahmad Jacob ( 2013)
    Though there is substantial indirect astrophysical evidence for the existence of dark matter (DM), it has yet to be directly detected. Consequently, little is known about its internal structure. It is possible that there is a small but finite non-gravitational interaction between dark matter and the Standard Model (SM) which may have observable consequences. The purpose of this thesis is the exploration of some of these interactions and consequences. In particular we consider the possibility that dark matter is unstable on long timescales, as motivated by discrepancies between simulation and observation of structure on sub-galactic scales. We also consider the consequences of electroweak radiative corrections to annihilation processes involving dark matter, as such corrections are necessarily present in many well motivated models. We consider this possibility in the contexts of dark matter annihilation in galactic halos, and production in colliders. Chapter 1 provides an introduction to dark matter, including some of its astrophysical and particle aspects. As a motivation for the following sections, we begin by briefly outlining some of the observational evidence for dark matter. We go on to discuss structure formation, and the cold dark matter distribution on galactic scales. Next we discuss the possibility of non-gravitational interactions involving dark matter, including decay, annihilation, scattering off nuclei, and production. Finally we discuss the determination of the relic abundance in the early Universe, including a discussion of models involving coannihilation. Late decaying dark matter has been proposed as a solution to the small scale structure problems inherent to cold dark matter cosmology. In these models the parent dark matter particle is unstable, and decays into a daughter with near degenerate mass, plus a relativistic final state. In Chapter 2 we review the observational constraints on decaying dark matter, and construct explicit particle physics models to realize this scenario. To achieve this, we introduce a pair of fermionic dark matter candidates and a new scalar field, which obey either a Z4, or a U(1) symmetry. Through the spontaneous breaking of these symmetries, and coupling of the new fields to standard model particles, we demonstrate that the desired decay process may be obtained. We also discuss the dark matter production processes in these models. In Chapter 3 we investigate electroweak radiative corrections to dark matter annihilation into leptons, in which a W or Z boson is also radiated. In many dark matter models the annihilation rate into fermions is helicity suppressed. We demonstrate that bremsstrahlung processes can remove this helicity suppression, causing the branching ratios Br($\ell \nu W $), Br($\ell^+\ell^-Z$), and Br($\bar\nu \nu Z$) to dominate over Br($\ell^+\ell^-$) and Br($\bar\nu \nu$). We find this effect to be most significant in the limit where the dark matter mass is nearly degenerate with the mass of the boson which mediates the annihilation process. Finally, in Chapter 4, we investigate a mono-Z process as a potential dark matter search strategy at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). In this channel a single Z boson recoils against missing transverse momentum attributed to dark matter particles, $\chi$, which escape the detector. For illustrative purposes we consider the process $q\bar{q} -> \chi\chi Z$ in a toy dark matter model, where the Z boson is emitted from either the initial state quarks, or from the internal propagator. We look for muonic decays of the Z, showing the Standard Model backgrounds to this process to be easily removable with modest selection cuts. We compare signal with Standard Model backgrounds and demonstrate that there exist regions of parameter space where the signal may be clearly visible above background in future LHC data.