Center for Theoretical Physics of the Universe (CTPU)

Heating Neutron star with GeV Dark Matter

by Dr Po-Yan Tseng (Yonsei University)



An old neutron star (NS) may capture halo dark matter (DM) and get heated up by the deposited kinetic energy, thus behaving like a thermal DM detector with sensitivity to a wide range of DM masses and a variety of DM-quark interactions. Near future infrared telescopes will measure NS temperatures down to a few thousand Kelvin and probe NS heating by DM capture. We focus on GeV-mass Dirac fermion DM in scenarios in which the DM capture rate can saturate the geometric limit. For concreteness, we study (1) a model that invokes dark decays of the neutron to explain the neutron lifetime anomaly, and (2) a framework of DM coupled to quarks through a vector current portal. In the neutron dark decay model a NS can have a substantial DM population, so that the DM capture rate can reach the geometric limit through DM self-interactions even if the DM-neutron scattering cross section is tiny.