Faculty Advisor

Latimer, David

Area of Study

Science and Mathematics

Publication Date

Summer 2013


A concordance of observations indicates that around 80% of the matter in the universe is some unknown dark matter. This dark matter could be comprised of a single structureless particle, but much richer theories exist. Signals from the DAMA, CoGeNT, and CDMS-II dark matter detectors along with the non-observation of dark matter by other detectors motivate theories of composite dark matter along with a “dark” electromagnetic sector. The composite models propose baryon-like or atom-like dark matter. If photons kinetically mix with the “dark” photons, then light traveling through dark matter will experience dispersion. We expect the dispersion to be approximated by the Drude-Lorentz model where the model parameters are particular to a given dark matter candidate. As light travels through the dispersive medium, it can accrue to a frequency-dependent time lag. Measurement of such a time lag can yield clues as to the nature of the dark matter. As a first application, we model hydrogenic dark atoms and use astrophysical data to constrain the mass, binding energy, and the fractional electric charge of the dark atoms.


University of Puget Sound