Archive for March, 2012


21 March, 2012

In High Energy Physics on March 23, 2012 by physthjc

1) The neutrino velocity

  • Measurement of the neutrino velocity with the ICARUS detector at the CNGS beam
    abstract:  The CERN-SPS accelerator has been briefly operated in a new, lower intensity neutrino mode with ~10^12 p.o.t. /pulse and with a beam structure made of four LHC-like extractions, each with a narrow width of ~3 ns, separated by 524 ns. This very tightly bunched beam structure represents a substantial progress with respect to the ordinary operation of the CNGS beam, since it allows a very accurate time-of-flight measurement of neutrinos from CERN to LNGS on an event-to-event basis. The ICARUS T600 detector has collected 7 beam-associated events, consistent with the CNGS delivered neutrino flux of 2.2 10^16 p.o.t. and in agreement with the well known characteristics of neutrino events in the LAr-TPC. The time of flight difference between the speed of light and the arriving neutrino LAr-TPC events has been analysed. The result is compatible with the simultaneous arrival of all events with equal speed, the one of light. This is in a striking difference with the reported result of OPERA [1] that claimed that high energy neutrinos from CERN should arrive at LNGS about 60 ns earlier than expected from luminal speed.

2) Limits on Dark Matter annihilation from dwarf galaxies

  • Extracting limits on Dark Matter annihilation from dwarf Spheroidal galaxies at gamma-rays 
    abstract:  Dwarf spheroidal galaxies compose one of the most dark matter dominated classes of objects, making them a set of targets to search for signals of dark matter annihilation. The recent developments in gamma-ray astronomy, most importantly the launch of the Fermi-LAT instrument, have brought those targets into attention. Yet, no clear excess of gamma-rays has been confirmed from these targets, resulting in some of the tightest limits on dark matter annihilation from indirect searches. In extracting limits from dwarf spheroidal galaxies, it is of great importance, to properly take into account all relevant uncertainties, which include the dark matter distribution properties of the dwarf spheroidals, and the uncertainties on the underlying background. We revisit the limits on dark matter annihilation, from gamma-rays studying a set of close-by dwarf spheroidal galaxies, for which, we have good understanding of the uncertainties in the dark matter distribution. For those targets, we perform and compare results for alternative methods in extracting the background gamma-ray flux; which provides a method to discriminate among the dark matter annihilation targets, those that can give robust constraints. We finally present our tightest limits on dark matter annihilation, coming only from the targets that ensure accurate understanding of both the gamma-ray background and the dark matter distribution uncertainties.


14 March, 2012

In High Energy Physics on March 16, 2012 by physthjc

1) Dark Matter after freeze-out

  • Changes in dark matter properties after freeze-out
    abstract:  The properties of the dark matter that determine its thermal relic abundance can be very different from the dark matter properties today. We investigate this possibility by coupling a dark matter sector to a scalar that undergoes a phase transition after the dark matter freezes out. If the value of Omega_DM h^2 calculated from parameters measured at colliders and by direct and indirect detection experiments does not match the astrophysically observed value, a novel cosmology of this type could provide the explanation. This mechanism also has the potential to account for the “boost factor” required to explain the PAMELA data.

2) Spatial variation of the fine structure constant

  • Spatial variation in the fine-structure constant — new results from VLT/UVES
    abstract:  We present a new analysis of a large sample of quasar absorption-line spectra obtained using UVES (the Ultraviolet and Visual Echelle Spectrograph) on the VLT (Very Large Telescope) in Chile. In the VLT sample (154 absorbers), we find evidence that alpha increases with increasing cosmological distance from Earth. However, as previously shown, the Keck sample (141 absorbers) provided evidence for a smaller alpha in the distant absorption clouds. Upon combining the samples an apparent variation of alpha across the sky emerges which is well represented by an angular dipole model pointing in the direction RA=(17.3 +/- 1.0) hr, dec. = (-61 +/- 10) deg, with amplitude (0.97 +0.22/-0.20) x 10^(-5). The dipole model is required at the 4.1 sigma statistical significance level over a simple monopole model where alpha is the same across the sky (but possibly different to the current laboratory value). The data sets reveal a number of remarkable consistencies: various data cuts are consistent and there is consistency in the overlap region of the Keck and VLT samples. Assuming a dipole-only (i.e. no-monopole) model whose amplitude grows proportionally with `lookback-time distance’ (r=ct, where t is the lookback time), the amplitude is (1.1 +/- 0.2) x 10^(-6) GLyr^(-1) and the model is significant at the 4.2 sigma confidence level over the null model [Delta alpha]/alpha = 0). We apply robustness checks and demonstrate that the dipole effect does not originate from a small subset of the absorbers or spectra. We present an analysis of systematic effects, and are unable to identify any single systematic effect which can emulate the observed variation in alpha.


7 March, 2012

In High Energy Physics on March 8, 2012 by physthjc

1) Neutrinos: Dirac or Majorana?

  • Probing Majorana neutrino in rare decays
    abstract:  We study the rare decays of charged $\pi$ mesons, $\pi^+ \to e^+ e^+ \mu^- \bar\nu_\mu $ and $\pi^+ \to e^+ \mu^- e^+ \nu_e $ induced by a sterile neutrino $N$ with a mass in the range $m_\mu < m_N < m_\pi$. The first process violates Lepton Number by two units and so occurs only if $N$ is Majorana, while the second process conserves Lepton Number and occurs irrespective of the Majorana or Dirac character of $N$. We study a way to distinguish the Majorana vs. Dirac character of $N$ in these processes using the muon spectrum. We also find that the branching ratios could be at the reach of high luminosity experiments like Project X at FNAL or any proposed neutrino (or muon) factories worldwide.

2) Solar Neutrinos as an explanation for DAMA?

  • Elastic scattering signals of solar neutrinos with enhanced baryonic currents 
    abstract:  The coupling of the baryonic current to new neutrino states \nu_b with strength in excess of the weak interactions is a viable extension of the Standard Model. We analyze the signature of \nu_b appearance in the solar neutrino flux that gives rise to an elastic scattering signal in dark matter direct detection and in solar neutrino experiments. This paper lays out an in-depth study of \nu_b detection prospects for current and future underground rare event searches. We scrutinize the model as a possible explanation for the reported anomalies from DAMA, CoGeNT, and CRESST-II and confront it with constraints from other null experiments.


29 February, 2012

In High Energy Physics on March 2, 2012 by physthjc

1) Composite Inflation

  • Composite inflation setup and Glueball inflation
    abstract:  We explore the paradigm according to which inflation is driven by a four-dimensional strongly coupled dynamics coupled non-minimally to gravity. We start by introducing the general setup, both in the metric and Palatini formulation, for generic models of composite inflation. We then analyze the relevant example where the inflaton is identified with the glueball field of a pure Yang-Mills theory. We introduce the dilatonic-like glueball action which is obtained by requiring saturation of the underlying Yang-Mills trace anomaly at the effective action level. We couple the resulting action non-minimally to gravity. We demonstrate that it is possible to achieve successful inflation with the confining scale of the underlying Yang-Mills theory naturally of the order of the grand unified energy scale. We also argue that within the metric formulation models of composite inflation lead to a more consistent picture than within the Palatini one. Finally we show that, in the metric formulation, the model nicely respects tree-level unitarity for the scattering of the inflaton field all the way to the Planck scale.