We examine energy relaxation of nonequilibrium quasiparticles in "dirty" superconductors with the electron mean free path much shorter than the superconducting coherence length. Relaxation of low-energy nonequilibrium quasiparticles is dominated by phonon emission. We derive the corresponding collision integral and find the quasiparticle relaxation rate. The latter is sensitive to the breaking of time reversal symmetry (TRS) by a magnetic field (or magnetic impurities). As a concrete application of the developed theory, we address quasiparticle trapping by a vortex and a current-biased constriction. We show that trapping of hot quasiparticles may predominantly occur at distances from the vortex core, or the constriction, significantly exceeding the superconducting coherence length.
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We are grateful to M. Feigelman, A. Shtyk, and V. Yudson for illuminating discussions. This work was supported by the DOE Contract No. DEFG02-08ER46482. APPENDIX A:
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