The quest to find dark matter (DM) has inspired new searches at CMS, specifically looking for interactions between DM and quarks mediated by particles of previously unexplored mass and width. If the DM mediator is a leptophobic vector resonance coupling only to quarks with a universal coupling gq, for instance, its decay also produces a dijet resonance (see bottom figure, left) and the value of gq determines the width of the mediator.


CMS has traditionally searched for peaks from narrow resonances on the steeply falling dijet invariant mass spectrum predicted by QCD. This search has been updated with the full 2016 data set and limits set on a DM mediator, constraining gq for resonances with a mass between 0.6 and 3.7 TeV and width less than 10% of the resonance mass. Two additional dijet searches have now been released: a boosted-dijet search sensitive to lower mediator masses, and an angular-distribution search sensitive to larger couplings and widths.

The first search gets round the limitations of the narrow-resonance search, which only applies above a minimum mass that satisfies the dijet trigger requirements, by requiring resonance production in association with a jet (bottom figure, middle). In such events the resonance is highly boosted and by analysing the jet substructure the QCD background can be highly suppressed, making the search sensitive in a lower mass range. The mass spectrum of the single jet was used to search for resonances over a mass range of 50–300 GeV, and the corresponding constraints on gq and the mediator width from boosted dijets explore the lowest mediator masses.

For large couplings and widths, the sensitivity of searches for dijet resonance peaks is strongly reduced. However, a search for a very wide resonance can be performed by studying dijet angular distributions such as the scattering angle between the incoming and outgoing partons. These distributions differ significantly, depending on whether a new particle is produced in the s-channel or from the QCD dijet background, which is dominated by t-channel production (bottom figure, right). Being sensitive to both large-width resonances and non-resonant signatures, this search also sets lower limits on the scale of contact interactions that may arise from quark compositeness in the range 6–22 TeV, as well as signatures of large extra dimensions and quantum black holes. The same search, when interpreted in the context of a vector mediator coupling to DM, excludes values of gq greater than 0.6, corresponding to widths higher than 20% of the resonance mass, and extending to mediator masses as high as 5 TeV.

Using these three complementary techniques, CMS has now explored a large range in mass, coupling and width, extending the scope of searches for DM mediators. The expected volume of data from the LHC in upcoming years will allow CMS to extend this reach even further, with the study of three-jet topologies allowing the uncovered mass range of 300–600 GeV to be explored.