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Journal Article

Capture of leptophilic dark matter in neutron stars


Busoni,  Giorgio
Division Prof. Dr. Manfred Lindner, MPI for Nuclear Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Bell, N. F., Busoni, G., & Robles, S. (2019). Capture of leptophilic dark matter in neutron stars. Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics, 2019(6): 054. doi:10.1088/1475-7516/2019/06/054.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0005-4CF0-7
Dark matter particles will be captured in neutron stars if they undergo scattering interactions with nucleons or leptons. These collisions transfer the dark matter kinetic energy to the star, resulting in appreciable heating that is potentially observable by forthcoming infrared telescopes. While previous work considered scattering only on nucleons, neutron stars contain small abundances of other particle species, including electrons and muons. We perform a detailed analysis of the neutron star kinetic heating constraints on leptophilic dark matter. We also estimate the size of loop induced couplings to quarks, arising from the exchange of photons and Z bosons. Despite having relatively small lepton abundances, we find that an observation of an old, cold, neutron star would provide very strong limits on dark matter interactions with leptons, with the greatest reach arising from scattering off muons. The projected sensitivity is orders of magnitude more powerful than current dark matter-electron scattering bounds from terrestrial direct detection experiments.