All attempts to directly detect particle dark matter (DM) scattering on nuclei suffer from the partial or total loss of sensitivity for DM masses in the GeV range or below. We derive novel constraints from the inevitable existence of a subdominant, but highly energetic, component of DM generated through collisions with cosmic rays. Subsequent scattering inside conventional DM detectors, as well as neutrino detectors sensitive to nuclear recoils, limits the DM-nucleon scattering cross section to be below 10-31 cm2 for both spin-independent and spin-dependent scattering of light DM.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank John Beacom, Christopher Cappiello, Juan Collar, Felix Kling, and Shafi Mahdawi for useful discussions and input on a previous version of the manuscript. T. B. wishes to warmly thank Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics for generous support and hospitality during the preparation of this manuscript. Research at Perimeter Institute is supported by the Government of Canada through the Department of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development and by the Province of Ontario through the Ministry of Research, Innovation, and Science.
© 2019 authors. Published by the American Physical Society.