Scanning the Sky for Sterile Neutrino Dark Matter

Colloquium | February 3 | 4:15-5:15 p.m. | LeConte Hall, 1 LeConte Hall

 Kerstin Perez, Assistant Professor, MIT

 Department of Physics

The particle nature of dark matter is a driving question of contemporary physics, with astrophysical experiments leading the search for dark matter annihilation or decay signatures. Sterile neutrinos, which could provide an elegant solution to the puzzle of the observed active neutrino masses and mixing, are among the most well-motivated light dark matter candidates, with astrophysical X-ray observations offering the best opportunity for discovery. In this talk, I will review the status of X-ray searches for sterile neutrinos, including the candidate sterile neutrino signal at ~3.5 keV. In particular, I will describe the novel use of the NuSTAR X-ray satellite observatory to provide the leading constraints in much of the mass range ~10-50 keV, improving upon previous limits at some masses by over an order of magnitude and reducing the available parameter space for sterile neutrinos in the simplest models by almost two-thirds.

 CA, physics_admin@berkely.edu, 5106423316