Revisiting the dark matter interpretation of excess rates in semiconductors

Peter Abbamonte, Daniel Baxter, Yonatan Kahn, Gordan Krnjaic, Noah Kurinsky, Bashi Mandava, Lucas K. Wagner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In light of recent results from low-threshold dark matter detectors, we revisit the possibility of a common dark matter origin for multiple excesses across numerous direct detection experiments, with a focus on the excess rates in semiconductor detectors. We explore the interpretation of the low-threshold calorimetric excess rates above 40 eV in the silicon SuperCDMS Cryogenic Phonon Detector and above 100 eV in the germanium EDELWEISS Surface detector as arising from a common but unknown origin, and demonstrate a compatible fit for the observed energy spectra in both experiments, which follow a power law of index a=3.43-0.06+0.11. Despite the intriguing scaling of the normalization of these two excess rates with approximately the square of the mass number A2, we argue that the possibility of common origin by dark matter scattering via nuclear recoils is strongly disfavored, even allowing for exotic condensed matter effects in an as-yet unmeasured kinematic regime, due to the unphysically large dark matter velocity required to give comparable rates in the different energy ranges of the silicon and germanium excesses. We also investigate the possibility of inelastic nuclear scattering by cosmic ray neutrons, solar neutrinos, and photons as the origin, and quantitatively disfavor all three based on known fluxes of particles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number123002
JournalPhysical Review D
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 15 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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