When talking about Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPs) as Dark Matter candidates, do we mean that they interact via the weak force (possibly communicating with the SM by exchange of $W^\pm$ or $Z$ bosons) or that whatever new force they might be subject to (either in a purely Dark sector or in the form of an undiscovered charge also common to certain SM particles) is weak in strength?

It seems to me that the former understanding makes sense in relation to the "WIMP miracle", while the latter is an umbrella term for DM experiments...


Matter interacting with only the weak and gravitational interactions of the present model of particle physics , will not radiate photons ( with the electromagnetic interaction) and they have a low probability of decaying into charged particles due to the smallness of the weak coupling; strong interactions would decay fast into charged particles part of the time and are also excluded in the definition of "dark". Thus weakly interacting neutral particles of the standard model or extensions of it, are candidates for dark matter.

Weak in strength cover the above and also unknown candidates of unknown theories by demanding that the interactions are very improbable so no charged particles with their electromagnetic interactions can come out in force.

It depends on the context.

  • $\begingroup$ When we say the all dark matter is "weakly" interacting (not only WIMPs), does it also not mean that (apart from weak interaction) it can have any Standard Model interaction but coupling is extremely weak escape detection? For example, axions couple to photons. @annav $\endgroup$ – SRS Apr 1 at 7:02
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, any weakly interacting particles that will not produce electromagnetic radiation enough to be detected ( that is what dark means, no light was detected). $\endgroup$ – anna v Apr 1 at 7:54

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