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Inelastic dark matter nucleus scattering

ABSTRACT

Direct detection experiments aim at the detection of dark matter in the form of weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs) by searching for signals from elastic dark matter nucleus scattering. Additionally, inelastic scattering in which the nucleus is excited is expected from nuclear physics and provides an additional detectable signal. In the context of a low-energy effective field theory we investigate the experimental reach to these inelastic transitions for xenon-based detectors employing a dual-phase time projection chamber. We find that once a dark matter signal is established, inelastic transitions enhance the discovery reach and we show that they allow a better determination of the underlying particle physics.