The standard interpretation of direct-detection limits on dark matter involves particular assumptions of the underlying WIMP-nucleus interaction, such as, in the simplest case, the choice of a Helm form factor that phenomenologically describes an isoscalar spin-independent interaction. In general, the interaction of dark matter with the target nuclei may well proceed via different mechanisms, which would lead to a different shape of the corresponding nuclear structure factors as a function of the momentum transfer $q$. We study to what extent different WIMP-nucleus responses can be differentiated based on the $q$-dependence of their structure factors (or “form factors”). We assume an overall strength of the interaction consistent with present spin-independent limits and consider an exposure corresponding to XENON1T-like, XENONnT-like, and DARWIN-like direct detection experiments. We find that, as long as the interaction strength does not lie too much below current limits, the DARWIN settings allow a conclusive discrimination of many different response functions based on their $q$-dependence, with immediate consequences for elucidating the nature of dark matter.
A. Fieguth, M. Hoferichter, P. Klos, et. al.
Wed, 14 Feb 18
Comments: 10 pages, 7 figures