Energy loss in low energy nuclear recoils in dark matter detector materials

S Sassi and M Heikinheimo and K Tuominen and A Kuronen and J Byggmaestar and K Nordlund and N Mirabolfathi, PHYSICAL REVIEW D, 106, 063012 (2022).

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevD.106.063012

Recent progress in phonon-mediated detectors with eV-scale nuclear recoil energy sensitivity requires an understanding of the effect of the crystalline defects on the energy spectrum expected from dark matter or neutrino coherent scattering. We perform molecular dynamics simulations to determine the amount of energy stored in the lattice defects as a function of the recoil direction and energy. This energy cannot be observed in the phonon measurement, thus affecting the observed energy spectrum compared to the underlying true recoil energy spectrum. We describe this effect for multiple commonly used detector materials and demonstrate how the predicted energy spectrum from dark matter scattering is modified.

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