Limits to gauge coupling in the dark sector set by the non-observation of instanton-induced decay of Super-Heavy Dark Matter in the Pierre Auger Observatory data

Pierre Auger Collaboration

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Abstract

Instantons, which are non-perturbative solutions to Yang-Mills equations, provide a signal for the occurrence of quantum tunneling between distinct classes of vacua. They can give rise to decays of particles otherwise forbidden. Using data collected at the Pierre Auger Observatory, we search for signatures of such instanton-induced processes that would be suggestive of super-heavy particles decaying in the Galactic halo. These particles could have been produced during the post-inflationary epoch and match the relic abundance of dark matter inferred today. The non-observation of the signatures searched for allows us to derive a bound on the reduced coupling constant of gauge interactions in the dark sector: $\alpha_X \lesssim 0.09$, for $10^{9} \lesssim M_X/{\rm GeV} < 10^{19}$. 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, we illustrate how these bounds are complementary to those obtained on the Hubble rate at the end of inflation from the non-observation of tensor modes in the cosmological microwave background.
Original languageEnglish
Article number061001
Number of pages9
JournalPhys.Rev.Lett.
Volume130
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Feb 2023

Bibliographical note

9 pages, 3 figures, accepted for publication in Phys. Rev. Lett

Keywords

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

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