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

Fedja Kadribasic*, Nader Mirabolfathi, Kai Nordlund, Eero Holmström, Flyura Djurabekova

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


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


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

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