Constraining primordial black hole dark matter with CHIME fast radio bursts

Keren Krochek, Ely D. Kovetz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Strong lensing of fast radio bursts (FRBs) has been proposed as a relatively clean probe of primordial black hole (PBH) dark matter. Recently, the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) published a first catalog of 536 FRBs, 62 of which are from repeating sources. In light of this new data, we reexamine the prospects to constrain the abundance of PBHs via FRBs. Extending previous forecasts, we calculate a PBH dark matter bound using the intrinsic burst width and a calibrated flux-ratio threshold per FRB. In addition, we take into account the uncertainty in the relation between the FRB dispersion measure and source redshift. We outline an algorithm to detect lensed FRBs and a method to simulate its performance on real data and set a flux-ratio threshold for each event, which we use to infer realistic forecasts. We then attempt to extract a preliminary bound using the publicly available CHIME data. Unfortunately, both instrumental noise and the provided ∼1 ms time-resolution of the public data hinder this effort. We identify one candidate event where a double burst could be explained via strong lensing by a O(10 M⊙)-mass PBH, which will require follow-up study at higher time resolution to either confirm or discard. We show that with a few times the size of the first catalog - sampled at the full instrumental time-resolution so that candidates can be efficiently scrutinized - CHIME will be able to find strong evidence for or robustly rule out PBHs with mass above ∼10 M⊙ as the dark matter. Finally, we demonstrate that stacking repeating FRBs can improve the constraints, especially for lower masses.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103528
JournalPhysical review D
Issue number10
StatePublished - 15 May 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics


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