Dark matter beams at LBNF

Journal of High Energy Physics, Apr 2016

High-intensity neutrino beam facilities may produce a beam of light dark matter when protons strike the target. Searches for such a dark matter beam using its scattering in a nearby detector must overcome the large neutrino background. We characterize the spatial and energy distributions of the dark matter and neutrino beams, focusing on their differences to enhance the sensitivity to dark matter. We find that a dark matter beam produced by a Z ′ boson in the GeV mass range is both broader and more energetic than the neutrino beam. The reach for dark matter is maximized for a detector sensitive to hard neutral-current scatterings, placed at a sizable angle off the neutrino beam axis. In the case of the Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility (LBNF), a detector placed at roughly 6 degrees off axis and at a distance of about 200 m from the target would be sensitive to Z ′ couplings as low as 0.05. This search can proceed symbiotically with neutrino measurements. We also show that the MiniBooNE and MicroBooNE detectors, which are on Fermilab’s Booster beamline, happen to be at an optimal angle from the NuMI beam and could perform searches with existing data. This illustrates potential synergies between LBNF and the short-baseline neutrino program if the detectors are positioned appropriately.

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Dark matter beams at LBNF

Accepted: March matter beams at LBNF Pilar Coloma 0 1 2 Bogdan A. Dobrescu 0 1 2 Claudia Frugiuele 0 1 2 Roni Harnik 0 1 2 0 P. O. Box 500, Batavia, IL 60510 , U.S.A 1 Theory Department, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory 2 term in eq. (2.1) is replaced by i @ High-intensity neutrino beam facilities may produce a beam of light dark matter when protons strike the target. Searches for such a dark matter beam using its scattering in a nearby detector must overcome the large neutrino background. We characterize the spatial and energy distributions of the dark matter and neutrino beams, focusing on their di erences to enhance the sensitivity to dark matter. We produced by a Z0 boson in the GeV mass range is both broader and more energetic than the neutrino beam. The reach for dark matter is maximized for a detector sensitive to hard neutral-current scatterings, placed at a sizable angle o case of the Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility (LBNF), a detector placed at roughly 6 degrees o axis and at a distance of about 200 m from the target would be sensitive to Z0 couplings as low as 0.05. This search can proceed symbiotically with neutrino measurements. We also show that the MiniBooNE and MicroBooNE detectors, which are on Fermilab's Booster beamline, happen to be at an optimal angle from the NuMI beam and could perform searches with existing data. This illustrates potential synergies between LBNF and the short-baseline neutrino program if the detectors are positioned appropriately. Beyond Standard Model; Neutrino Physics - Dark 1 Introduction 2 3 4 5 Production mechanisms for dark matter and neutrinos Detection via neutral-current events Optimal detector location and expected sensitivity Conclusions A Computation of the neutrino ux from kaon decays rience interactions with ordinary matter beyond gravity. Direct detection experiments [1] have imposed impressive constraints on the interactions between nucleons and DM particles of mass larger than about 5 GeV. These experiments lose sensitivity quickly at lower masses because light dark matter particles moving at the viral velocities of our galactic halo would yield very low recoil energies in collision with nuclei or atoms. Interactions of DM with quarks or gluons are also explored at high-energy colliders, for example through monojet searches [2{9]. If these interactions are due to a light mediator, however, the collider searches are less sensitive. Therefore, the question of how to conduct light dark matter searches is urgent and compelling. A potentially promising direction is to use proton xed-target experiments to probe DM couplings to quarks [10{15] (other proposals for light DM searches have been explored in [16{27]). An interesting type of mediator is a leptophobic Z0 boson. For a Z0 mass in the 1{10 GeV range, the limits on its coupling to quarks are remarkably loose [28]. A dark matter beam originating from the decay of a leptophobic Z0, produced by protons accelerated in the Booster at Fermilab, may lead to a signal in the MiniBooNE experiment [14]. This signal decreases fast for MZ0 above 1 GeV, because the Booster proton energy is only 8 GeV. By contrast, protons accelerated at 120 GeV in the Main Injector scattering o nucleons may produce a leptophobic Z0 as heavy as 7 GeV, and the DM particles originating in the Z0 decay may lead to neutral-current events in neutrino detectors [15]. { 1 { Here we analyze the sensitivity of neutrino detectors to the DM beam produced in leptophobic Z0 decays. We focus on a high-intensity proton beam of 100 GeV, as that proposed at the Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility [29] (LBNF). We consider deep-inelastic neutral-current scattering as the main signal. The challenge of using neutrino facilities to look for a DM beam is that neutrino events represent an irreducible background. In [14] it is proposed to conduct a special run of the beam in which the magnetic horns are turned o , leading to a more dilute neutrino beam. Here we will take a di erent approach, namely to exploit the di erence between the dark matter and a focused neutrino beam and consider a detector that is located accordingly. This search for dark matter does not disrupt the normal neutrino research program. More speci cally, we will see that the signal and main background contributions have very di erent energy and angular pro les, which can be exploited to enhance the signal signi cance. We perform a simple optimization study using the signal signi cance in order to determine the optimal position of a detector. We determine that an angle of approximately 6 degrees with respect to the decay pipe direction would maximize the sensitivity. Applying these results to the NuMI beamline, we nd that the NOvA near detector, in spite of being located slightly o -axis, does not provide a su cient suppression of the neutrino background. The paper is structured as follows. Section 2 reviews the main features of the model considered. In section 3 we discuss the main di erences between the DM signal and the neutrino background, paying special attention to their energy and angular distributions. In section 4 we identify the optimal o -axis location for a detector, based on the signalto-background expected ratio, and the 2 sensitivity contours for two close-to-optimal locations are presented. Our conclusions are presented in section 5. The computation of the neutrino ux due to kaon decays is outlined in the appendix. 2 Dark matter and a light Z0 boson We consider a Z0 boson, associated with the U(1)B gauge group, which couples to the quarks q = u; d; s; c; b; t and to a dark matter fermion : HJEP04(216)7 Lq = gz Z0 2 + H:c: Additional fermions (referred to as \anomalons") charged under U(1)B are necessary to cancel the gauge anomalies. Examples of anomalons are given in refs. [28, 30{32]. We assume that these do not have an impact on the Z0 phenomenology. The ratio of decay widths into 0s and quarks is (Z0 ! (Z0 ! qq) ) = 3z2 Nf (MZ0 ) F (m =MZ0 ) ; { 2 { (2.1) (2.2) where (Z0 ! qq) stands for the sum over the partial decay widths into all quarks, Nf (MZ0 ) is the e ective number of quark avors of mass below MZ0 =2, and the function F is de ned by F (x) = < 8 > > > uncertainties for MZ0 near the ss and cc thresholds. The existing constraints on the Z0 coupling in the 1{10 GeV mass range are rather weak, given that this is a leptophobic boson: 1. Z0 exchange induces invisible decays of quarkonia with a branching fraction [33]: one loop with [33]: < MJ= =2, and the analogous expression for (C.L.) limits on invisible branching fractions are B(J= B( ! ) < 3 2. A kinetic mixing between the Z0 boson and the photon, ( B=2)Z0 F , arises at (2.3) (2.5) (2.6) at the 10 GeV scale. As a result, the Z0 boson can be produced in e+e collisions, albeit with a very small rate. The BaBar limit [36] on (3S) decay into a photon and missing energy has been reinterpreted [37] as a limit on e+e ! Z0 with the Z0 produced through its kinetic mixing. This limit is competitive with the one from 3. Monojet searches [7] at hadron colliders set a bound on gz [38] gz2 B(Z0 ! ) < 1:4 Overall, values of the gauge coupling gz as large as of order 0.1 are allowed for MZ0 in the 1{10 GeV, with the exception of small regions near the J= and masses. We will plot the strongest limits on gz as a function of MZ0 in section 5 ( gure 7). We will not discuss possible cosmological constraints on the parameter space which arise when is the dominant form of dark matter. Possible viable dark matter scenarios are discussed in [15]. 3 Neutrinos versus dark matter at xed target experiments The search for a dark matter beam in a neutrino facility must deal with the neutrino background. To mitigate this, new physics searches need to be tailored to maximize the signal to background ratio (or the signal signi cance), by looking for particular signals and in particular regions of phase space. It is convenient to separate the production, which occurs mostly in the target, from detection, which takes place in a distant detector. In this section we discuss the production and detection mechanisms both for neutrinos and dark matter, emphasizing the main di erences between them. 3.1 Production mechanisms for dark matter and neutrinos In the model considered in this work, the dark matter is pair produced via the decay of a Z0 boson, of mass in the GeV range, resonantly produced in the target by proton scattering o nucleons, qq ! Z0 ! mesons.1 This means that the problem of reducing the neutrino backgrounds produced in meson decays is nontrivial. Let us consider a Z0 of mass MZ0 that is produced in the target with an energy EZ0 . The energy of the dark matter particle in the nal state can be derived from 2-body kinematics. In the lab frame it reads: MZ20 E = 2EZ0 (1 cos ) ; (3.1) (3.2) where is the Z0 velocity, is the angle between the and Z0 momenta, and we have neglected the mass of the dark matter assuming that it is much smaller than the Z0 mass. Since the transverse momentum of the initial qq system is small (we are only considering production at leading order), the Z0 is produced in the forward direction. As a result the angle of the dark matter with respect to the decay pipe can be directly identi ed with . As will be discussed in detail in section 3.2, the main background is due to very energetic neutrinos reaching the detector. For neutrinos produced in meson decays, a similar relation as in eq. (3.2) holds between the meson and neutrino energy, just replacing 1This is di erent from the situation considered in [14] where the focus is on a Z0 with MZ0 O(100) MeV. There the Z0 is produced via meson decays, at a much higher rate. The lighter Z0 mass and the e cient , E 5 0 0 0 .8 ° ' , Z of DM particles produced in Z0 decays is shown as solid lines, and the case of neutrinos produced in kaon decays is shown as dashed lines. The results are shown for two di erent o -axis angles: 0:8 (red) and 6 (blue), matching approximately the o -axis angles (seen from the target) of the NOvA near detector and the MiniBooNE detector with respect to the NuMI beamline. the Z0 variables with the parent meson variables, and E ! E . Thus, in the case of pions, neutrinos emitted with a sizable angle have very low energies regardless of the parent pion energy because of the low pion mass in the denominator. This fact, which is exploited both in the T2K and NOvA experiments to get a narrow neutrino spectrum at low neutrino energies, will also be bene cial in our case to reduce the neutrino background at high energies. For o -axis angles larger than 2 degrees no signi cant number of energetic neutrinos coming from pion decays would reach the detector, assuming a (relatively well) collimated pion beam. We may henceforth consider only angles above 2 degrees and ignore backgrounds from pion decay. Following the above argument, it is clear that our main background is going to come from neutrinos produced in kaon decays, which will lead to a more energetic ux of neutrinos o axis. Nevertheless, since MK MZ0 , the resulting neutrino ux will still be much less energetic than the dark matter ux. This can be understood from eq. (3.2) and is illustrated in gure 1, where the energy of the daughter particle is shown as a function of the parent energy, both for Z0 and kaon decays. The results are shown for two di erent o -axis angles, which roughly correspond to the angles subtended by both the NOvA near detector and the MiniBooNE detector, measured with respect to the NuMI beamline. So far we considered the decay of a Z0 boson or a kaon produced with a given energy. This qualitative understanding must be folded with their respective energy distributions as they exit the target. In order to compute the dark matter energy pro le, we generate proton-proton collisions using MadGraph/MadEvent 5 [39] with NNPDF23LO1 parton distribution functions (PDFs) [40]. The implementation of the model into MadGraph has been done using the FeynRules package [41]. The LHE les have been parsed using PyLHEF [42]. { 5 { H 0.001 Neutrinos En HGeVL 2° 6° 10 6° 2° 30 Ec HGeVL 0 10 20 40 50 2 4 6 8 12 HJEP04(216)7 target, for DM particles (left) and for neutrinos (right), produced from 120 GeV protons scattering o nucleons at rest. Results are shown for two di erent o -axis angles, 2 (solid) and 6 (dashed). Due to the short baselines considered for this setup, in the 100{700 m range, the size of the detector will also have an impact on the energy pro le. For simplicity, we consider a generic spherical detector of a similar size to the MiniBooNE detector [43] (a radius Rdet = 6:1 m, and a mass of 800 tons). The nal dark matter ux expected at the detector can be seen in the left panel of gure 2 for a mediator with MZ0 = 3 GeV and a fermionic dark matter candidate with m = 750 MeV. Results are shown for two di erent values of the o -axis angle , as a function of the dark matter energy (see also gure 5 in ref. [15]). For comparison, in the right panel we show the neutrino ux as a function of the neutrino energy, for the same o axis angles. Indeed, comparing the two panels of gure 2 we see that the di erence in mass between a few GeV Z0 and kaons (and pions) o ers an interesting handle to distinguish between dark matter and neutrinos, since the latter tend to be less energetic (especially when the detector is placed o -axis). This will also provide an extra relative suppression for the background with respect to the signal, since the interaction cross section at the detector grows with the energy of the incoming particle. We have shown that the energy spectrum of dark matter that reaches an o -axis detector is harder than the neutrino spectrum reaching it. The second important di erence between production of dark matter with a GeV mediator and neutrinos from kaon decay is going to be the angular dependence of the ux. While dark matter is produced from the decay of a spin 1 particle, neutrinos are produced from a spin zero meson, which will a ect the angular distribution of the particles produced in the decay. Moreover, the probability for the daughter particle to be emitted in the direction of the o -axis detector will depend on its energy. For neutrinos this probability reads dP d = 1 4 2(1 is the solid angle in the kaon rest frame, and refers to the parent velocity. The dark matter distributions, on the other hand, will be di erent depending on whether is { 6 { a fermion or a scalar particle as follows: d dPF;S = 1 (1 2(1 M 2 sin2 ) particle, which does not necessarily coincide with the beam axis. As already mentioned, in the case of the Z0 this is a negligible e ect | the Z0 is emitted very forward and to a good approximation its direction is the beam axis. Therefore, it is straightforward to obtain the dark matter ux as a function of its energy, by folding the Z0 energy distribution with eqs. (3.2) and (3.4). The case of kaon decay is more complicated, though, as the kaon is typically produced with other hadrons which can balance its pT . The kaon momentum thus generally subtends a non-zero angle with respect to the lab frame, which has to be accounted for when computing the neutrino ux reaching the detector. In this work, the neutrino ux has been computed using publicly available data for the kaon momenta and energy from Monte Carlo simulations of the NuMI target when exposed to 120 GeV protons [44{46]. More details on the computation of the neutrino ux can be found in the appendix. The angular distributions with respect to the o -axis angle are shown in gure 3, both for neutrinos coming from kaon decays and for dark matter resonantly produced via Z0. Since we are only interested in events producing very energetic hadron showers in the detector, these distributions have been obtained considering only particles with energies above 2 GeV. The di erent lines correspond to total number of neutrinos, scalar or fermion , which reach a MiniBooNE-like detector placed at L = 745 m from the target. In all cases, the angular acceptance of the detector has been taken into account. From this gure it is evident that the suppression with the o -axis angle is stronger for the neutrino ux than for the dark matter uxes. 3.2 Detection via neutral-current events In the previous section we have shown that the dark matter ux tends to be more energetic than the neutrino ux at o -axis locations, and that the angular dependence of the spectrum is also di erent for the signal and background. We now evaluate if the signatures for the signal and background events in the detector are su ciently di erent to allow a dark matter search at neutrino detectors. In the model considered in this work, the dark matter particles produced at the target would give an excess of neutral-current events at the detector, which in principle may be confused with neutrino neutral-current events. Since the dark matter ux is expected to be more energetic, we consider only deep-inelastic scattering events, and we require that the energy deposited by the hadronic shower at the detector is above 3 GeV. This requirement further suppresses the neutrino contribution with respect to the dark matter signal. The total cross section as a function of the energy of the incident particle, as well as the hadronic energy distributions, are computed with MadGraph both for the neutrino and dark matter events since, in this range, the cross section can be computed within the { 7 { 0.05 0.02 2 (dashed line) dark matter, with MZ0 indicated in the legend. The solid line shows the neutrino ux coming from kaon decays. The angular acceptance of the detector corresponds to a MiniBooNE-size detector located at L = 745 m from the target. parton model.2 We have checked that the neutrino neutral-current cross section obtained with MadGraph is approximately NC 10 2 pb for neutrino energies around 10 GeV, which is in reasonable agreement with the literature, see e.g. ref. [47]. In the case of the dark matter, due to the much lighter mediator mass, the cross section is much larger. For instance, MZ0 = 3 GeV, gz = 0:1 and z = 3 gives a dark matter neutral-current cross section of NC 5 pb for E 10 GeV. The much larger interaction cross section will provide an extra enhancement of the signal with respect to the neutrino background. At rst sight, the kinematics of signal and background scattering should be rather di erent. At the matrix element level there is a notable di erence due to the small MZ0 =MZ ratio. The Z0 propagator is proportional to (q2 MZ0 ) 1, q2 being the squared-momentum transfer. For the background, instead, MZ0 is replaced with the much larger Z mass, and the momentum transfer is negligible. Nevertheless, the di erences do not translate into a very di erent energy deposition in the detector. To show this explicitly we have simulated both dark matter and neutrino interactions. The probability to get a hadronic shower with a given energy, for a xed value of the energy of the incident particle (either a neutrino or a dark matter fermion) is shown in gure 4. As expected, the neutrino recoil energy is somewhat harder. However, this is a subdominant e ect, while the largest di erences between signal and background will be those associated to production. In order to consider the optimal location for a detector and estimate the sensitivity to light dark matter, we should take into account production and detection together and compute the number of signal and background events that a detector would observe at an o -axis angle . Heavier mediators will generally broaden the angular distribution for the 2In order to guarantee that the parton model can be used in our case, we x the factorization scale of the process to be equal to the mass of the Z0, and a conservative cut is imposed on the momentum transfer of the process, Q2 & 2 GeV2. { 8 { HJEP04(216)7 0.1 0.0 Ec,n = 5 GeV Neutrino c HMZ' = 3 GeVL Ec,n = 10 GeV HJEP04(216)7 0 2 8 10 4 Ehad HGeVL 6 (dashed lines) and for dark matter (solid lines) neutral-current events. Two sets of lines are shown for incident particle energies of 5 GeV and 10 GeV. In the dark matter case, MZ0 = 3 GeV and m = 750 MeV. dark matter particles exiting the target, therefore increasing the signal rates for o -axis locations. The angular distribution will also be di erent depending on whether the particle produced in the Z0 decay is a fermion or a scalar. The behavior of the total number of events with the o -axis angle is shown in gure 5, for the background as well as for three potential dark matter signals. The distance to the detector is xed to L = 745 m in this gure, and the angular acceptance of the detector is taken into consideration. As expected, the background falls much more rapidly than the signals with the o -axis angle, which motivates to put the detector a few degrees o axis. The e ect of the heavier mediator mass can be seen from the comparison between the dotted and dot-dashed lines, while the e ect of the spin of the dark matter particle is clearly seen from the comparison between the dashed and dot-dashed lines. As can be seen from the gure, the e ect coming from the spin of the produced particle is the dominant. As expected, in the scalar scenario, more o -axis locations are clearly preferred, while if the dark matter particle is a fermion the preference is not as strong. The e ect of the Z0 mass is subdominant. 4 Optimal detector location and expected sensitivity From the results shown in section 3 it is evident that, in order to achieve enough suppression of the neutrino background, an o -axis location for the detector is preferred. In this section, we make this statement more precise and determine the ideal location for a future LBNF detector to conduct a search for new light degrees of freedom coupled to the SM via a new vectorial force. For this purpose, we have computed the ratio between the total number of signal events (S) and the expected statistical uncertainty of the background event sample { 9 { 0 2 n from Kaons of the o -axis angle, for a MiniBooNE-like detector located 745 meters away from the target for 6 1020 protons on target (PoT). The dotted (MZ0 = 3 GeV) and dot-dashed (MZ0 = 5 GeV) lines correspond to fermion DM, while the dashed line refers to scalar DM. Here we assume gz = 0:1, z = 3 and m = 750 MeV. p ( B), as a function of the o -axis angle and the distance to the detector. Our main result p is summarized in gure 6, where the di erent lines correspond to iso-contours for particular values of S= B, as indicated in the labels. The left panel shows the regions obtained for a Z0 with a mass of 3 GeV coupled to fermionic dark matter, while the right panel shows the results for a Z0 of 5 GeV coupled to a scalar particle. In both cases, the charge has been xed to z = 3, and the coupling is set to gz = 0:1. A hypothetical ideal detector of approximately the MiniBooNE detector size has been assumed. As expected from the results shown in section 3 (see also [15]), the dependence with p the contours for the S= B are lower in this case. respect to the o -axis angle is di erent for the fermion and scalar cases. As can be seen from the plot, the ideal position of the detector in the scalar case with a heavier mediator shows a stronger preference for o -axis locations, while in the case of fermions it is less pronounced. It should also be noted that, since in the right panel the mediator chosen is heavier, the signal event rates will be consequently suppressed. Thus, the values shown in In order to improve the sensitivity to light dark matter we must go further o -axis and study detectors that are not traditionally considered to be on the NuMI beamline. Our choice for an optimal detector is determined by the attempt of optimizing simultaneously the reach for both scalars and fermions. We therefore identify the ideal position (marked by a star) to be at roughly 6 o -axis and at a distance of 200 m from the target, being the minimal distance physically allowed by the presence of the decay pipe and focusing horn. Interestingly, the MiniBooNE detector (marked by a circle), which is on-axis with respect to the Booster beamline, is very close to the optimal o -axis angle identi ed in our study, although at a longer distance from the NuMI target (L 745 m). Fermion c, MZ' = 3 GeV Scalar c, MZ' = 5 GeV S B ò 8 e lg6 events as a function of the o -axis angle in degrees and the distance to the detector in meters, for gz = 0:1, z = 3 and m = 750 MeV. Left panel: signal signi cance for a DM fermion and MZ0 = 3 GeV. Right panel: same for a DM scalar and MZ0 = 5 GeV. The triangle and the circle indicate the approximate locations of the NOvA near detector and MiniBooNE detector from the NuMI target. The star marks the optimal location for a dark matter search. For reference, the approximate location of the NOvA near detector is indicated by a triangle in gure 6. As explained in the previous section, we only consider neutrinos emitted from kaon decays as source of background. It should thus be kept in mind that, for angles close to the neutrino beam direction (i.e., for angles below 2 approximately) our computation may be underestimating the total number of background events. This is indicated in gure 6 by the horizontal purple band. Just as an example, we checked that at the NOvA near detector about 106 deep-inelastic scattering neutral-current events are expected when all neutrinos (coming both from and K decays) are considered in the computation. This is an order of magnitude above the result obtained when only neutrinos coming from K decays are considered. From a similar argument it follows that the MINOS near detector would be even less sensitive to a possible light DM signal, being on-axis with respect to the neutrino beam. As explained in section 2, the model under consideration in this work contains a very small number of free parameters, namely: the coupling gz, the charge of the dark matter under the U(1)B group, z , and the mass of the mediator between the SM and the hidden sectors, MZ0 . In this section, we will keep the value of z xed to z = 3, and determine the expected sensitivity to the coupling gz, as a function of the mediator mass. Our results will be shown for the optimal detector location identi ed in section 4, assuming an ideal detector of approximately MiniBooNE size, with perfect detection e ciency for neutralcurrent events. For comparison, we will also show the expected results for the MiniBooNE detector location (always considering the NuMI target as the production point for the dark matter beam). It should be kept in mind that, since no special run would be needed to perform this search, an analysis could be done in principle using their past data3 (including precise input about detector size and performance). In order to determine the sensitivity to the new coupling, a binned 2 analysis is performed. The event rates are binned according to the energy deposited in the detector by the hadronic shower, using 1 GeV bins. In order to further reduce the background event rates, a minimum threshold of 3 GeV is imposed. A poissonian 2 is then built as: where Nbg;i stands for the background events in the i-th bin, and Ntot;i stands for the total number of events expected in the same bin including the background plus a possible contribution from the signal (which depends on MZ0 and gz). The expected sensitivity contours are shown in gure 7 for two possible detector locations: the optimal one (solid black lines) and the MiniBooNE location (dashed black lines). In both cases, a total exposure of 3.6 1021 PoT has been considered. This corresponds to the nominal running time for the NOvA experiment of 6 natural years [48]. The contours are shown at the 90% C.L. for 2 degrees of freedom (d.o.f.), and have been obtained assuming fermionic dark matter. For comparison, the strongest previous experimental bounds are also shown by the colored regions: monophoton searches at BaBar (yellow); and J= (green) and (blue) invisible decay searches, as discussed in section 2. For simplicity, no systematic errors have been considered when obtaining the 2 contour. The largest contribution to the total systematic error is expected to come from the uncertainties a ecting the neutral-current deep-inelastic neutrino cross section, for which little experimental data is available [47]. For reference, the MiniBooNE collaboration recently measured the ux-averaged quasi-elastic neutral-current cross section with an integrated 20% uncertainty [49]. Similar uncertainties (at the 20{25% level) a ect current measurements for neutral-current single-pion cross sections, see ref. [47]. The second important contribution to the systematic errors relevant for this search would come from ux uncertainties. For instance, in ref. [44] the uncertainties a ecting the NuMI ux measured at the MiniBooNE location were at the 9% level (for neutrino energies at or below 3 GeV) In principle, one could expect these uncertainties to be larger at higher neutrino energies. Nevertheless, due to the strong dependence of the signal event rates with the coupling (S gz6, see section 3), we expect the nal 2 contour to remain largely una ected by background normalization uncertainties. A larger e ect could come from the detector performance parameters (detection e ciencies, for instance), since the sensitivity of the experiment in this scenario would be largely limited by statistics. A more careful study by the experimental collaborations is therefore needed to determine the nal sensitivity for the search proposed here. 3In fact, the MiniBooNE and MINOS collaborations have already published a joint measurement of the NuMI ux at the MiniBooNE detector [44]. 0.150 0.100 z0.070 g via a avor-universal Z0 boson of mass MZ0 and coupling gz, for a DM U(1)B charge z = 3. The solid black line shows the sensitivity for a MiniBooNE-like detector at the optimal location from the NuMI target (see gure 6), while the dashed black line shows the sensitivity for a detector placed at the MiniBooNE/MicroBooNE site. The shaded areas are ruled out (see section 2). 5 Conclusions The NuMI and LBNF neutrino beams rely on high-intensity proton xed target facilities, with proton energies around 100 GeV, which can also be exploited to search for new light degrees of freedom. In particular, they could be essential to search for dark matter particles with masses below a few GeV, inaccessible at conventional direct detection experiments. The reason is that, if such dark matter particles exist and interact with nucleons, then a dark matter beam could be directly produced during proton collisions at the NuMI or LBNF targets. The subsequent dark matter detection would require a detector sensitive to neutral-current events, placed within a few hundred meters from the target. For a signal of this kind, though, neutrinos constitute the most relevant background. In this work we have investigated how it can be reduced. We have concentrated here on a scenario where both quarks and dark matter particles interact with a Z0 boson of mass in the 1{10 GeV range. The existing constraints on a Z0 boson of this type are loose, allowing its gauge coupling to be as large as 0.1. The Z0 can then be produced in large numbers at the LBNF, where its prompt decays into two dark matter particles would generate a wide beam. We have studied the dependence of the statistical signi cance of the signal with the o -axis angle and distance between the detector and the target. We have found that the ideal placement of a detector is at an o -axis angle of about 6 , and that a detector of the size of the MiniBooNE detector would be sensitive to a Z0 gauge coupling as low as 0.05. Our study motivates a proton beam at 120 GeV (or higher) in order to increase the sensitivity for models with a multi-GeV Z0 boson, resonantly produced at the target. It should be stressed that the strategy proposed in this work to search for dark matter can run symbiotically with the neutrino program, and a dedicated run would not be needed. We have also discussed the detection of a dark matter beam that may be produced in the NuMI beam line using existing detectors. The NO A near detector would su er from a large neutrino background due to the small o -axis angle. A similar argument would apply to the MINOS near detector. On the other hand, the detectors placed along the Booster beamline, such as MiniBooNE, MicroBooNE and possibly ICARUS, coincidentally subtend an ideal angle with respect to the NuMI beamline in order to conduct these searches. The lessons from this are twofold. First, the existing data set from MiniBooNE may be used to probe new regions of the parameter space in dark matter models. Second, this reveals strong synergies between the long- and short-baseline neutrino programs regarding new physics searches, which should be exploited and maximized in the future. Acknowledgments We are grateful to Zarko Pavlovic for providing useful input regarding the kaon distributions and NuMI uxes, as well as for numerous discussions. We thank Olivier Mattelaer for his help with MadGraph simulations, Zelimir Djurcic for providing the neutrino uxes at the NOvA near detectors, and Andre de Gouvea, Lisa Goodenough, Raoul Rontsch and Sam Zeller for useful discussions. We would also like to thank Roberto Vidal for writing a python parser [42] for LHE les. PC acknowledges nancial support by the European Union through the ITN INVIS IBLES (Marie Curie Actions, PITN-GA-2011-289442-INVISIBLES), and would like to thank the Mainz Institute for Theoretical Physics for hospitality and partial support during completion of this work. Fermilab is operated by Fermi Research Alliance, LLC under Contract No. DE-AC02-07CH11359 with the United States Department of Energy. A Computation of the neutrino ux from kaon decays As mentioned in section 3.1, the dark matter ux entering a detector placed at an o -axis location with respect to the beam direction is relatively easy to compute, since the Z0 is emitted very forward and to a good approximation its direction is the beam axis. However, the case of neutrinos being produced from kaon decays is very di erent, since kaons are typically produced at the target together with other hadrons which balance their pT . Thus, kaons generally subtend a non-zero angle with respect to the beam direction, which has to be accounted for when computing the neutrino ux entering the detector. The kaon energy and momenta distributions have been obtained from publicly available data in refs. [44{46]. They were derived from a Monte Carlo simulation of the NuMI target, when exposed to a 120 GeV proton beam. Given this distribution of kaons, what is the neutrino distribution? Since kaons decay relatively promptly, it is a good approximation to consider that all kaons decay at the beginning of the decay pipe. We will denote by K ; K the polar coordinates of the kaon in the lab frame, where K is the polar coordinate with respect to the z-axis (which we choose to be the beam direction), and K corresponds to the angle for a rotation in the x-y plane around the z-axis. It is important to recall that the angular distribution of neutrinos produced from a kaon decay with energy EK and momentum K only depends on the kaon energy and on the neutrino angle with respect to the kaon momentum, : Moreover, the energy of a neutrino coming from a kaon with energy EK is: Therefore, for a xed angle between the neutrino and the kaon rest frame, the energy of the neutrino is automatically determined by the kaon momentum. The computation of the total number of neutrinos produced from kaon decays that will reach the detector can be written as: N = Z EK; K; NK (EK ; K ) d dP (EK ; )d K d dEK : (A.2) Here, NK (EK ; K ) corresponds to the number of kaons with energy EK and angle K which are produced in the target and decay producing a neutrino, and are extracted from a binned histogram given by the Monte Carlo simulation in refs. [44{46]. Thus, the two integrals in K and EK can be replaced by a discrete sum. Moreover, the kaon-neutrino system has a symmetry around the lab frame z-axis, so integration over K only a ects the overall normalization by a factor dKet= , where dKet is the aperture of the detector in the K coordinate. In order to obtain the number of neutrinos reaching the detector, the integration limits have to be chosen according to the aperture of the detector. In particular, once the detector shape is considered, the limits on will depend on the value of . Both neutrino coordinates in the lab system will also depend on the value of K . The integration in can be performed directly, and we are left with a function which depends on and the kaon variables. Therefore, eq. (A.2) can be rewritten as: N = det K X EK; K Z max( K) Z max( K; ) min( K) min( K; ) NK (EK ; K ) d dP (EK ; ) sin d d : (A.3) In order to determine the integration limits, we have to take into account that the angular aperture of the detector is de ned in the variable , which can be expressed as a function of the kaon and neutrino angular coordinates as: cos = sin cos sin k + cos cos k : (A.4) This de nes as the angle between the neutrino produced in the decay and the beam (or z-) axis in the lab frame. In principle, the simplest solution would be to add a Heavyside function inside the integral, in such a way that the integrals in and are only performed for those values of and which satisfy the angular cut on . We found this to be computationally rather expensive, though. Instead, we opted for the following approximation. For a very thin binning in the neutrino energy, the interval of allowed values of which give a neutrino inside the bin is very narrow, and much smaller than the aperture of the detector. Therefore, it can be easily checked whether the values of in this interval give a value of inside the aperture of the detector. Within this approximation, the integral in can be taken as the value of the function in the middle of the integrating interval, times the size of the interval. Also, the integrand does not depend on anymore and can be integrated independently. As a det K X EK K X NK (EK ; K ) d dP (EK ; ) sin ( ; K ) ; (A.5) where N (E ;i) now corresponds to the number of neutrinos entering the detector with energies inside the i-th neutrino energy bin, and = = max min + min ; =2 ; ( ; K ) = max( ; K ) min( ; K ) : (A.6) Before computing the contribution to the neutrino ux for a given energy bin by using eq. 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Pilar Coloma, Bogdan A. Dobrescu, Claudia Frugiuele. Dark matter beams at LBNF, Journal of High Energy Physics, 2016, 47, DOI: 10.1007/JHEP04(2016)047