Particle physics catalysis of thermal big bang nucleosynthesis

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We point out that the existence of metastable, τ>103s, 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. In particular, we show that the bound states of X- with helium, formed at temperatures of about T=108K, lead to the catalytic enhancement of Li6 production, which is 8 orders of magnitude more efficient than the standard channel. In particle physics models where subsequent decay of X- does not lead to large nonthermal big bang nucleosynthesis effects, this directly translates to the level of sensitivity to the number density of long-lived X- particles (τ>105s) relative to entropy of nX-/s 3×10-17, which is one of the most stringent probes of electroweak scale remnants known to date.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number231301
JournalPhysical review letters
Issue number23
StatePublished - Jun 4 2007

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