Catalyzed Big-Bang nucleosynthesis

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We point out that the existence of metastable, τ > 103 s, negatively charged electroweak-scale particles (X-) alters the predictions for lithium and other primordial elemental abundances for A > 4 via the formation of bound states with nuclei during Big-Bang nucleosynthesis (BBN). In particular, we show that the bound states of X- with helium, formed at temperatures of about T = 108 K, lead to the catalytic enhancement of 6Li production, which is eight orders of magnitude more efficient than the standard channel. In particle physics models, where subsequent decay of X- does not lead to large nonthermal BBN effects, this directly translates to the level of sensitivity to the number density of long-lived X- particles (τ > 105 s) relative to entropy of nx-/s ≲ 3 × 10-17, which is one of the most stringent probes of electroweak scale remnants known to date. It is also argued that unstable charged particles with lifetime of order ∼2000 s may naturally lead to the depletion of 7Li by a factor of two, making it consistent with observationally determined abundances.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)611-616
Number of pages6
JournalCanadian Journal of Physics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2008
Externally publishedYes


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