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Journal Article

Low-energy supernovae severely constrain radiative particle decays


Janka,  Hans-Thomas
Stellar Astrophysics, MPI for Astrophysics, Max Planck Society;

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Caputo, A., Janka, H.-T., Raffelt, G., & Vitagliano, E. (2022). Low-energy supernovae severely constrain radiative particle decays. Physical Review Letters, 128(22): 221103. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.128.221103.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000B-5887-A
The hot and dense core formed in the collapse of a massive star is a powerful source of hypothetical feebly interacting particles such as sterile neutrinos, dark photons, axionlike particles (ALPs), and others. Radiative decays such as a→2γ deposit this energy in the surrounding material if the mean free path is less than the radius of the progenitor star. For the first time, we use a supernova (SN) population with particularly low explosion energies as the most sensitive calorimeters to constrain this possibility. These SNe are observationally identified as low-luminosity events with low ejecta velocities and low masses of ejected 56Ni. Their low energies limit the energy deposition from particle decays to less than about 0.1 B, where 1  B(bethe)=1051  erg. For 1–500 MeV-mass ALPs, this generic argument excludes ALP-photon couplings Gaγγ in the 10−10−10−8  GeV−1 range.