Cosmological implications of photon-flux upper limits at ultra-high energies in scenarios of Planckian-interacting massive particles for dark matter

The Pierre Auger Collaboration

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Abstract

Using the data of the Pierre Auger Observatory, we report on a search for signatures that would be suggestive of super-heavy particles decaying in the Galactic halo. From the lack of signal, we present upper limits for different energy thresholds above ${\gtrsim}10^8$\,GeV on the secondary by-product fluxes expected from the decay of the particles. Assuming that the energy density of these super-heavy particles matches that of dark matter observed today, we translate the upper bounds on the particle fluxes into tight constraints on the couplings governing the decay process as a function of the particle mass. Instantons, which are non-perturbative solutions to Yang-Mills equations, can give rise to decay channels otherwise forbidden and transform stable particles into meta-stable ones. Assuming such instanton-induced decay processes, we derive a bound on the reduced coupling constant of gauge interactions in the dark sector: $\alpha_X \lesssim 0.09$, for $10^{9} \lesssim M_X/\text{GeV} < 10^{19}$. Conversely, we obtain that, for instance, a reduced coupling constant $\alpha_X = 0.09$ excludes masses $M_X \gtrsim 3\times 10^{13}~$GeV. In the context of dark matter production from gravitational interactions alone during the reheating epoch, we derive constraints on the parameter space that involves, in addition to $M_X$ and $\alpha_X$, the Hubble rate at the end of inflation, the reheating efficiency, and the non-minimal coupling of the Higgs with curvature.
Original languageEnglish
Article number042002
Number of pages16
JournalPhys.Rev.D
Volume107
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Feb 2023

Bibliographical note

15 pages, 8 figures, Accompanying paper of arXiv:2203.08854, accepted for publication in Phys. Rev. D

Keywords

  • astro-ph.HE
  • astro-ph.CO
  • hep-ph

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