A flavoured dark sector

  • Sophie RennerEmail author
  • Pedro Schwaller
Open Access
Regular Article - Experimental Physics


We explore the phenomenology of a QCD-like dark sector which confines around the GeV scale. The dark sector inherits a flavour structure from a coupling between dark quarks and SM quarks via a heavy mediator, which leads to exciting new phenomena. While stable baryonic bound states are the dark matter candidates, the phenomenology is dominated by the lightest composite mesons, the dark pions, which can have decay lengths ranging from millimetres to hundreds of meters. For masses below 1.5 GeV, their exclusive decays to SM mesons are calculated for the first time by matching both dark and visible sectors to a chiral Lagrangian. Constraints from big bang nucleosynthesis, dark matter direct detection and flavour single out a small region of allowed parameter space for dark pion masses below 5 GeV. It is best probed by the fixed target experiments NA62 and SHiP, where dark pions can be produced copiously in rare decays like BD . The dominant πDK±π and πD → 3π decay modes are a smoking gun for a CP-odd, flavour violating new resonance. Heavier dark pions are best searched for at the LHC, where they decay after hadronisation to produce jets which emerge into SM states within the detector. Here the flavour structure ensures different flavours emerge on different length scales, leading to a striking new feature in the emerging jets signature.


Beyond Standard Model Dark matter Flavor physics Hadron-Hadron scattering (experiments) 


Open Access

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY 4.0), which permits any use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.PRISMA Cluster of Excellence & Mainz Institute for Theoretical PhysicsJohannes Gutenberg UniversityMainzGermany

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