Author's School

Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

Author's Department/Program



English (en)

Date of Award

Summer 8-29-2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Chair and Committee

Ramanath Cowsik


The precise phase-space distribution and properties of Galactic dark matter necessary for its direct and indirect detection are currently unknown. Since the distributions of normal and dark matter in the Milky Way are coupled to each other as they both move in the same gravitational potential, constraints on the distribution and properties of dark matter can be derived by studying the distribution of visible matter in the Galaxy and making some general assumptions regarding the phase-space distribution of the dark matter. In this study, the visible components of the Galaxy have been comprehensively reviewed to create an axisymmetric model of the Galaxy that is consistent with the available observations, and the dark matter phase-space distribution is assumed to follow a lowered-isothermal form. Poisson's equations are then solved self-consistently to construct models of the spatial and velocity distribution of Galactic dark matter. The total gravitational potential from normal and dark matter are calculated and compared to the current observations of the rotation curve and to the radial velocity distributions of blue horizontal-branch and blue straggler stars. It is found that this analysis allows for a wide range of parameters for the dark matter. The implications for direct and indirect detection of dark matter are discussed in detail.

In the appendices, two additional projects are presented. In Appendix A, the recent observations of the positron fraction and the total electron spectrum in cosmic rays are addressed by considering a nested leaky-box model for the propagation of cosmic rays in the Galaxy. This is found to obviate the need for exotic processes such as the annihilation or decay of dark matter to explain the recent observations. In Appendix B, we discuss a novel dark matter detector involving triggered cavitation in acoustic fields. The theory behind the detector is presented in detail, and we discuss the work than has been done to create a prototype at Washington University.


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