Cosmology and prospects for sub-MeV dark matter in electron recoil experiments
- Author(s): Lehmann, Benjamin V
- Profumo, Stefano
- et al.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevD.102.023038
Dark matter is poorly constrained by direct detection experiments at masses below 1 MeV. This is an important target for the next generation of experiments, and several methods have been proposed to probe this mass range. One class of such experiments will search for dark matter--electron recoils. However, simplified models with new light degrees of freedom coupled to electrons face significant pressure from cosmology, and the extent of these restrictions more generally is poorly understood. Here, we perform a systematic study of cosmological constraints on models with a heavy mediator in the context of an effective field theory. We include constraints from (i) disruption of primordial nucleosynthesis, (ii) overproduction of dark matter, and (iii) the effective number of neutrino species at recombination. We demonstrate the implications of our results for proposed electron recoil experiments, and highlight scenarios which may be amenable to direct detection.