Primordial lithium abundance in catalyzed big bang nucleosynthesis

Chris Bird, Kristen Koopmans, Maxim Pospelov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


There exists a well-known problem with the Li7+Be7 abundance predicted by standard big bang nucleosynthesis being larger than the value observed in population II stars. The catalysis of big bang nucleosynthesis by metastable, τX 103sec, charged particles X- is capable of suppressing the primordial Li7+Be7 abundance and making it consistent with the observations. We show that to produce the correct abundance, this mechanism of suppression places a requirement on the initial abundance of X- at temperatures of 4×108K to be on the order of or larger than 0.02 per baryon, which is within the natural range of abundances in models with metastable electroweak-scale particles. The suppression of Li7+Be7 is triggered by the formation of (Be7X-) compound nuclei, with fast depletion of their abundances by catalyzed proton reactions, and in some models by direct capture of X- on Be7. The combination of Li7+Be7 and Li6 constraints favors the window of lifetimes, 1000s τX≤2000s.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number083010
JournalPhysical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Oct 21 2008
Externally publishedYes


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