Exploring light dark matter at accelerators


  • Matthew Solt Department of Physics, University of Virginia


The constituents of dark matter are still unknown, and the viable possibilities span a very large mass range. Specific scenarios for a thermal origin of dark matter sharpen this mass range to within about an MeV to 100 TeV. Most of the stable constituents of known matter have masses in the MeV to GeV range, and a thermal origin for dark matter works in a simple and predictive manner in this mass range as well, yet it remains largely unexplored. The simplest and most popular models of sub-GeV dark matter involve a new hypothetical vector boson called a dark (or heavy) photon which provides clear benchmarks for such models. Two fixed target experiments that utilize an electron beam and offer complimentary searches for dark photons are the Heavy Photon Search (HPS) at Jefferson Lab and the planned next generation Light Dark Matter eXperiment (LDMX) at SLAC. HPS searches for visibly decaying dark photons through two distinct methods − a resonance search in the e+e invariant mass distribution and a displaced vertex search for long-lived dark photons − while LDMX will search for invisibly decaying dark photons through a missing-momentum experiment. In this talk, a theoretical motivation for sub-GeV dark matter, an overview of these experiments and their challenges, and the latest results from HPS will be presented.

About the Speaker

Matthew Solt, Department of Physics, University of Virginia

Matthew Solt is research associate at the Department of Physics of the University of Virginia. He was born and raised in the heart of the American auto industry just north of Detroit, MI. As a result, he naturally studied mechanical engineering as an undergraduate at Oakland University, and later decided to pursue physics as a second major after research experiences in nuclear physics at Michigan State University and accelerator physics at Cornell University. After his undergraduate, he attended Stanford University to pursue a PhD in experimental particle physics where he worked on the Heavy Photon Search Experiment at Jefferson Laboratory. His thesis work resulted in the publication of a new type of search for dark photons, a hypothetical particle motivated by dark matter. His current research continues to search for dark photons by working on the future Light Dark Matter eXperiment at SLAC. He also performs precision tests of muons with the planned Mu2e Experiment at Fermilab. Outside of the lab, Matt enjoys staying active by lifting, hiking, skiing, and playing soccer and also enjoys his new hobby of trying to play the piano.



Article ID



Invited Presentations



How to Cite

M Solt, Exploring light dark matter at accelerators, Proceedings of the Samahang Pisika ng Pilipinas 41, SPP-2023-INV-1C-01 (2023). URL: https://proceedings.spp-online.org/article/view/SPP-2023-INV-1C-01.