Neutron Star Internal Heating Constraints on Mirror Matter

David McKeen, Maxim Pospelov, Nirmal Raj

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Mirror sectors have been proposed to address the problems of dark matter, baryogenesis, and the neutron lifetime anomaly. In this work we study a new, powerful probe of mirror neutrons: neutron star temperatures. When neutrons in the neutron star core convert to mirror neutrons during collisions, the vacancies left behind in the nucleon Fermi seas are refilled by more energetic nucleons, releasing immense amounts of heat in the process. We derive a new constraint on the allowed strength of neutron-mirror-neutron mixing from observations of the coldest (sub-40 000 Kelvin) neutron star, PSR 2144-3933. Our limits compete with laboratory searches for neutron-mirror-neutron transitions but apply to a range of mass splittings between the neutron and mirror neutron that is 19 orders of magnitude larger. This heating mechanism, also pertinent to other neutron disappearance channels such as exotic neutron decay, provides a compelling physics target for upcoming ultraviolet, optical, and infrared telescopes to study thermal emissions of cold neutron stars.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number061805
JournalPhysical review letters
Volume127
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 6 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Joe Bramante, Rebecca Leane, and Shirley Li for helpful conversations on future telescopes. The work of D. M. and N. R. is supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. TRIUMF receives federal funding via a contribution agreement with the National Research Council Canada. M. P. is supported in part by U.S. Department of Energy Grant No. desc0011842.

Funding Information:
We thank Joe Bramante, Rebecca Leane, and Shirley Li for helpful conversations on future telescopes. The work of D. M. and N. R. is supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. TRIUMF receives federal funding via a contribution agreement with the National Research Council Canada. M. P. is supported in part by U.S. Department of Energy Grant No. desc0011842.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 authors. Published by the American Physical Society.

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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