Gravitational Direct Detection of Dark Matter
We have developed a radically new paradigm for dark matter detection: using an array of quantum impulse sensors to detect the tiny gravitational forces caused by passing dark matter particles. While most dark matter detection experiments look for dark matter particles with masses roughly between the electron and a few hundred protons, our detector concept is designed to search for much heavier candidates, with masses around the Planck scale. These could include composite objects like "dark nuclei" or exotic quantum gravity objects like the relics of nearly-evaporated primordial black holes.
The technological development needed for the realization of this paradigm is centered around fundamental and exciting directions in quantum sensing. In particular, we propose the use of a velocity measurement scheme which can evade quantum "backaction noise". These kinds of techniques are under nascent development by groups at NIST as well as larger collaborations like LIGO. Beyond our dark matter detection application, these techniques could have extremely widespread utility, especially in the detection of broadband impulse signals like those from Coulombic interactions with electrically charged particles.