As the gravitational evidence accumulates inexorably that dark matter comprises the vast majority of the mass of the universe, the particle nature of dark matter remains a mystery. New laboratory experiments are being commissioned to probe sub-GeV dark matter, but the signatures in these detectors rely crucially on the condensed matter properties of the detector material. Similarly, detecting the couplings of axions to matter requires considering collective modes in materials. I will survey the progress made in understanding existing detectors and designing future ones which operate in this unusual regime in the gap between high-energy and low-energy physics, driven by an incredibly fruitful and rich collaboration between particle physicists, condensed matter physicists, materials scientists, chemists, and quantum measurement specialists, on both sides of the theory/experiment divide. I will describe in detail two examples of proposed experiments which could shed light on dark matter in the next decade: anisotropic organic scintillator crystals for sub-GeV dark matter and superfluid helium-3 read out with quantum sensors for axion dark matter.
Host: Ian Moult