Looking for the invisible: Searches for Dark Matter

summer term 2018
Lecturer: Loredana Gastaldo, Oleg Brandt
Link to LSF


Astronomical and cosmological observations require the existence of Dark Matter in our universe. Today, Dark Matter is generally thought to have particle nature, where the Dark Matter particles have relatively long lifetimes, interact gravitationally and, possibly, also via the weak interaction.

In the Standard Model of particle physics, only neutrinos have the correct properties, but, due to their small mass, neutrinos can only account for a small fraction of the observed Dark Matter in our universe. In extended versions of the standard model sterile neutrinos, in particular keV-sterile neutrinos can contribute as warm dark matter candidates.

Light supersymmetric particles are an example for Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPs) which are candidates for cold darm matter. Other viable dark matter candidates are axions, which have been introduced to solve the strong CP-problem of QCD, or axion-like particles.

The seminar will address the experimental astrophysical and cosmological evidences which led to the postulation of dark matter. It will discuss the most prominent dark matter candidates and the different direct, indirect , and collider-based experimental methods to search for their existence. Particular emphasis is put on the search for sterile neutrinos, WIMPs, and axions.



Possible seminar topics are listed below. If you would like to discuss a topic not listed here please let us know and we will accommodate it!

  1. DM in the Universe: Rotational curves, Structure formation and CMB, Gravitational lensing
  2. Direct neutrino mass measurements: 3H and 163Ho
  3. keV sterile neutrino searches: X-ray searches (Chandra, XMM, EPIC); kinks in beta-spectra
  4. eV sterile neutrinos: (reactor experiments)
  5. Search for neutrinoless double beta decay: Gerda, scinitllating crystals
  6. Indirect searches: AMS
  7. Indirect searches: Fermi-LAT
  8. High mass WIMP searches using noble gases (e.g. Xenon 1T);
  9. Low mass WIMP  searches using cryogenic detectors (e.g. CRESST III)
  10. Low mass WIMP searches: DAMA
  11. Searches for direct DM production at the LHC
  12. Searches for mediators to the Dark Sector at the LHC
  13. Searches for axion-like particles at collider experiments
  14. Axion searches via Primakoff effect (CAST; ALPS; IAXO) and/or resonance cavities (ADMX)


  • Oleg Brandt (oleg.brandt#kip.uni-heidelberg.de)
  • Loredana Gastaldo (loredana.gastaldo#kip.uni-heidelberg.de)


The registration is open now! To register for the seminar, follow this link.

Please note that the seminar takes place on Mondays 14h00-16h00 (the LSF entry is being updated)!


Looking for the invisible: Searches for Dark Matter
summer term 2018
Gastaldo Brandt
Link zum LSF
7 participants