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Galactic PeV neutrinos from dark matter annihilation

  • Zavala, Jesus
Publication Date
Jun 04, 2014
Submission Date
Apr 10, 2014
DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevD.89.123516
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The IceCube Neutrino Observatory has observed highly energetic neutrinos in excess of the expected atmospheric neutrino background. It is intriguing to consider the possibility that such events are probing physics beyond the standard model. In this context, $\mathcal{O}$(PeV) dark matter particles decaying to neutrinos have been considered while dark matter annihilation has been dismissed invoking the unitarity bound as a limiting factor. However, the latter claim was done ignoring the contribution from dark matter substructure, which for PeV Cold Dark Matter would extend down to a free streaming mass of $\mathcal{O}$($10^{-18}$M$_\odot$). Since the unitarity bound is less stringent at low velocities, ($\sigma_{\rm ann}$v)$\leq4\pi/m_\chi^2v$, then, it is possible that these cold and dense subhalos would contribute dominantly to a dark-matter-induced neutrino flux and easily account for the events observed by IceCube. A Sommerfeld-enhanced dark matter model can naturally support such scenario. Interestingly, the spatial distribution of the events shows features that would be expected in a dark matter interpretation. Although not conclusive, 9 of the 37 events appear to be clustered around a region near the Galactic Center while 6 others spatially coincide, within the reported angular errors, with 5 of 26 Milky Way satellites. However, a simple estimate of the probability of the latter occurring by chance is $\sim35\%$. More events are needed to statistically test this hypothesis. PeV dark matter particles are massive enough that their abundance as standard thermal relics would overclose the Universe. This issue can be solved in alternative scenarios, for instance if the decay of new massive unstable particles generates significant entropy reheating the Universe to a slightly lower temperature than the freeze-out temperature, $T_{\rm RH} \lesssim T_{\rm f}\sim4\times10^4$~GeV.

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