Metastable GeV-scale particles as a solution to the cosmological lithium problem

Maxim Pospelov, Josef Pradler

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45 Scopus citations


The persistent discrepancy between observations of Li7 with putative primordial origin and its abundance prediction in big bang nucleosynthesis has become a challenge for the standard cosmological and astrophysical picture. We point out that the decay of GeV-scale metastable particles X may significantly reduce the big bang nucleosynthesis value down to a level at which it is reconciled with observations. The most efficient reduction occurs when the decay happens to charged pions and kaons, followed by their charge-exchange reactions with protons. Similarly, if X decays to muons, secondary electron antineutrinos produce a similar effect. We consider the viability of these mechanisms in different classes of new GeV-scale sectors, and find that several minimal extensions of the standard model with metastable vectors and/or scalar particles are capable of solving the cosmological lithium problem. Such light states can be a key to the explanation of recent cosmic ray anomalies and can be searched for in a variety of high-intensity medium-energy experiments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number103514
JournalPhysical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Nov 10 2010
Externally publishedYes

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