Cosmic rays, antihelium, and an old navy spotlight

Kfir Blum, Kenny Chun Yu Ng, Ryosuke Sato, Masahiro Takimoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cosmic-ray antideuterium and antihelium have long been suggested as probes of dark matter, as their secondary astrophysical production was thought extremely scarce. But how does one actually predict the secondary flux? Antinuclei are dominantly produced in pp collisions, where laboratory cross section data are lacking. We make a new attempt at tackling this problem by appealing to a scaling law of nuclear coalescence with the physical volume of the hadronic emission region. The same volume is probed by Hanbury Brown-Twiss (HBT) two-particle correlations. We demonstrate the consistency of the scaling law with systems ranging from central and off-axis AA collisions to pA collisions, spanning 3 orders of magnitude in coalescence yield. Extending the volume scaling to the pp system, HBT data allow us to make a new estimate of coalescence that we test against preliminary ALICE pp data. For anOtihelium the resulting cross section is 1 or 2 orders of magnitude higher than most earlier estimates. The astrophysical secondary flux of antihelium could be within reach of a five-year exposure of AMS02.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103021
Number of pages15
JournalPhysical review D
Issue number10
StatePublished - 28 Nov 2017


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