Particle Seminar

Date: 
Monday, March 18, 2019

Speaker: Catarina Cosme

Time: 2:30PM -- 3:30PM

Location: PA 133

Title: Dynamics and Phenomenology of Scalar Field Dark Matter through the Higgs Portal

Abstract: In this talk, we discuss the dynamics and phenomenology of an oscillating scalar field coupled to the Higgs boson that accounts for the dark matter in the Universe. First, we study the case where the field has negligible self-interactions. We argue that the initial field amplitude should generically be of the order of the Hubble parameter during inflation, as a result of its quasi-de Sitter fluctuations. This implies that such a field may account for the present dark matter abundance for masses in the range 10^{−6}−10^{−4} eV if the tensor-to-scalar ratio is within the range of planned Cosmic Microwave Background experiments. Then, we consider the case where the field’s potential has a quartic coupling accounting for the dark scalar self-interactions. The model assumes an underlying scale invariance such that the scalar field only acquires mass after the electroweak phase transition, behaving as dark radiation before the latter takes place. While for a positive coupling to the Higgs field the dark scalar is stable, for a negative coupling it acquires a vacuum expectation value after the electroweak phase transition and may decay into photon pairs, albeit with a mean lifetime much larger than the age of the Universe. We explore possible astrophysical and laboratory signatures of such a dark matter candidate, and we find that dark matter within this scenario will be generically difficult to detect in the near future, except for the promising case of a 7 keV dark scalar decaying into photons, which naturally explains the observed galactic and extra-galactic 3.5 keV X-ray line.