Particle Physics Seminar: Dr. Akshay Ghalsasi, University of Pittsburgh


Location: 415 Nieuwland Science (View on map )

Dynamics of Dark Matter Misalignment Through the Higgs Portal

Dr. Akshay Ghalsasi
Postdoctoral Associate
University of Pittsburgh

A light singlet scalar field feebly coupled through the super-renormalizable Higgs portal provides a minimal and well-motivated realization of ultra-light bosonic dark matter. We study the cosmological production of dark matter in this model by elucidating the dynamics of two sources of scalar field misalignment generated during the radiation era. For large scalar masses (above O(10^{-3}eV)), dark matter is produced through thermal misalignment, by which the scalar field is driven towards large field values as a result of the finite-temperature effective potential. The dominance of thermal misalignment in this mass range leads to a sharp relic abundance prediction which, is to a significant extent, insensitive to the initial conditions of the scalar field. On the other hand, for low mass scalars (below O(10^{-5}eV)), dark matter is produced via VEV misalignment, which is caused by the induced scalar field vacuum expectation value triggered by the electroweak phase transition. We show that the relic abundance in this low mass range is sensitive to the scalar field initial conditions. In the intermediate mass range, the relic abundance is a consequence of a competition between thermal misalignment and VEV misalignment, leading to novel forced resonance effects which cause a recurring enhancement and suppression in the late time oscillation amplitude as a function of the scalar mass. We compare our relic abundance predictions with constraints and projections from equivalence principle and inverse square law tests, stellar cooling, resonant molecular absorption, and observations of extra-galactic background light and diffuse X-ray backgrounds. New experimental ideas are needed to probe most of the cosmologically motivated regions of parameter space.