Model-independent form factors for spin-independent neutralino-nucleon scattering from elastic electron scattering data

Gintaras Dda, Ann Kemper, Paolo Gondolo

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Theoretical calculations of neutralino-nucleon interaction rates with various nuclei are of great interest to direct dark matter searches such as CDMS, EDELWEISS, ZEPLIN and other experiments since they are used to establish upper bounds on the WIMP-proton cross section. These interaction rates and cross sections are generally computed with standard, one-or two-parameter model-dependent nuclear form factors, which may not exactly mirror the actual form factor for the particular nucleus in question. As is well known, elastic electron scattering can allow for very precise determinations of nuclear form factors and hence nuclear charge densities for spherical or near-spherical nuclei. We use charge densities derived from elastic electron scattering data to calculate model-independent, analytic form factors for various target nuclei important in dark matter searches, such as Si, Ge, S, Ca and others. We have found that for nuclear recoils in the range of 1-100keV significant differences in cross sections and rates exist when the model-independent form factors are used: at 30keV nuclear recoil the form factors squared differ by a factor of 1.06 for 28Si, 1.11 for 40Ca, 1.27 for 70Ge and 1.92 for 129Xe. We show the effect of different form factors on the upper limit on the WIMP-proton cross section obtained with a hypothetical 70Ge detector during a 50 kg-d effective exposure. Helm form factors with various parameter choices differ at most by 10-20% from the best (Fourier-Bessel) form factor, and can approach it to better than 1% if the parameters are chosen to mimic the actual nuclear density.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number012
JournalJournal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Dark matter
  • Dark matter detectors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics


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