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Precision CMB constraints on eV-scale bosons coupled to neutrinos

  • Sandner, Stefan
  • Escudero, Miguel
  • Witte, Samuel J.
Published Article
Publication Date
Sep 06, 2023
Submission Date
May 02, 2023
DOI: 10.1140/epjc/s10052-023-11864-6
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The cosmic microwave background (CMB) has proven to be an invaluable tool for studying the properties and interactions of neutrinos, providing insight not only into the sum of neutrino masses but also the free streaming nature of neutrinos prior to recombination. The CMB is a particularly powerful probe of new eV-scale bosons interacting with neutrinos, as these particles can thermalize with neutrinos via the inverse decay process, $\nu\bar{\nu} \rightarrow X$, and suppress neutrino free streaming near recombination -- even for couplings as small as $\lambda_\nu \sim \mathcal{O}(10^{-13})$. Here, we revisit CMB constraints on such bosons, improving upon a number of approximations previously adopted in the literature and generalizing the constraints to a broader class of models. This includes scenarios in which the boson is either spin-$0$ or spin-$1$, the number of interacting neutrinos is either $N_{\rm int} = 1,2 $ or $3$, and the case in which a primordial abundance of the species is present. We apply these bounds to well-motivated models, such as the singlet majoron model or a light $U(1)_{L_\mu-L_\tau}$ gauge boson, and find that they represent the leading constraints for masses $m_X\sim 1\, {\rm eV}$. Finally, we revisit the extent to which neutrino-philic bosons can ameliorate the Hubble tension, and find that recent improvements in the understanding of how such bosons damp neutrino free streaming reduces the previously found success of this proposal.

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