Probing new physics with underground accelerators and radioactive sources

Eder Izaguirre, Gordan Krnjaic, Maxim Pospelov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


New light, weakly coupled particles can be efficiently produced at existing and future high-intensity accelerators and radioactive sources in deep underground laboratories. Once produced, these particles can scatter or decay in large neutrino detectors (e.g. Super-K and Borexino) housed in the same facilities. We discuss the production of weakly coupled scalars ϕ via nuclear de-excitation of an excited element into the ground state in two viable concrete reactions: the decay of the 0+ excited state of 16O populated via a (p, α) reaction on fluorine and from radioactive 144Ce decay where the scalar is produced in the de-excitation of 144Nd*, which occurs along the decay chain. Subsequent scattering on electrons, e(ϕ, γ)e, yields a mono-energetic signal that is observable in neutrino detectors. We show that this proposed experimental setup can cover new territory for masses 250 keV≤mϕ≤2me and couplings to protons and electrons, 10-11≤gegp≤10-7. This parameter space is motivated by explanations of the "proton charge radius puzzle", thus this strategy adds a viable new physics component to the neutrino and nuclear astrophysics programs at underground facilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)61-65
Number of pages5
JournalPhysics Letters, Section B: Nuclear, Elementary Particle and High-Energy Physics
StatePublished - Jan 5 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Drs. A. Arvanitaki, J. Beacom, and I. Yavin for helpful conversations. The Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics is supported by the Government of Canada through Industry Canada and by the Province of Ontario .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 The Authors.


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