Defect Creation in Crystals: A Portal to Directional Dark Matter Searches

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • Fedja Kadribasic
  • Nader Mirabolfathi
  • Kai Nordlund
  • Eero Holmström
  • Flyura Djurabekova

Research units

  • Texas A and M University
  • University of Helsinki


A large body of astrophysical observations indicate that around 85% of the matter in the universe is not made of recognized standard model particles. Understanding the nature of this so-called dark matter is of fundamental importance to cosmology, astrophysics, and high-energy particle physics. We examine the response of commonly used semiconductor materials to low-mass WIMP interactions using numerical simulations based on classical interatomic potentials in these materials. These simulations, backed up by more precise density functional theory simulations and experiments, predict a nonlinear energy loss that never produces phonons due to the nonzero energy required to form crystallographic defects. We argue that such nonlinear effects related to defect formation in electron-volt-scale resolution semiconductor detectors allows for very effective directional sensitivity and possible statistical nuclear recoil discrimination to dark matter signals for masses below 1 GeV / c2.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1146–1150
JournalJournal of Low Temperature Physics
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Research areas

  • Dark matter detectors, Density functional theory, Molecular dynamics, Particle dark matter, Semiconductors

ID: 28349182