In Search of Cosmic-Ray Antinuclei from Dark Matter [Applied Physics/Physics Colloquium]

In Search of Cosmic-Ray Antinuclei from Dark Matter
Tuesday, April 18, 2017 - 4:15pm
Hewlett 200
Kerstin Perez (MIT)
Abstract / Description: 

Cosmic-ray antiprotons have been a valuable tool for dark matter searches since the 1970's. Recent years have seen increased theoretical and experimental effort towards the first-ever detection of cosmic-ray antideuterons, in particular as an indirect signature of dark matter annihilation or decay in the Galactic halo. In contrast to other indirect detection signatures, which have been hampered by the large and uncertain background rates from conventional astrophysical processes, low-energy antideuterons provide an essentially background-free signature of dark matter, and low-energy antiprotons are a vital partner for this analysis. I will discuss the currently planned or ongoing experiments that will be sensitive to antideuteron flux levels predicted for dark matter, focusing on the balloon-borne GAPS experiment, which exploits a novel detection technique utilizing exotic atom capture and decay to provide both a sensitive antideuteron search and a precision antiproton measurement in an unprecedented low-energy range. I will finish by looking ahead to the tantalizing prospect of cosmic antihelium measurements, as a probe of both cosmic-ray and dark matter physics.