Effective field theory analysis of the first LUX dark matter search

(LUX Collaboration)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The Large Underground Xenon (LUX) dark matter search was a 250-kg active mass dual-phase time projection chamber that operated by detecting light and ionization signals from particles incident on a xenon target. In December 2015, LUX reported a minimum 90% upper C.L. of 6×10-46 cm2 on the spin-independent WIMP-nucleon elastic scattering cross section based on a 1.4×104 kg·day exposure in its first science run. Tension between experiments and the absence of a definitive positive detection suggest it would be prudent to search for WIMPs outside the standard spin-independent/spin-dependent paradigm. Recent theoretical work has identified a complete basis of 14 independent effective field theory (EFT) operators to describe WIMP-nucleon interactions. In addition to spin-independent and spin-dependent nuclear responses, these operators can produce novel responses such as angular-momentum-dependent and spin-orbit couplings. Here we report on a search for all 14 of these EFT couplings with data from LUX's first science run. Limits are placed on each coupling as a function of WIMP mass.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number122005
JournalPhysical Review D
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 15 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics


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