Cumulative Neutrino and Gamma-Ray Backgrounds from Halo and Galaxy Mergers

Chengchao Yuan, Peter Mészáros, Kohta Murase, Donghui Jeong

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16 Scopus citations


The merger of dark matter halos and the gaseous structures embedded in them, such as protogalaxies, galaxies, and groups and clusters of galaxies, results in strong shocks that are capable of accelerating cosmic rays (CRs) to ≳10 PeV. These shocks will produce high-energy neutrinos and γ-rays through inelastic pp collisions. In this work, we study the contributions of these halo mergers to the diffuse neutrino flux and to the nonblazar portion of the extragalactic γ-ray background. We formulate the redshift dependence of the shock velocity, galactic radius, halo gas content, and galactic/intergalactic magnetic fields over the dark matter halo distribution up to a redshift z = 10. We find that high-redshift mergers contribute a significant amount of the CR luminosity density, and the resulting neutrino spectra could explain a large part of the observed diffuse neutrino flux above 0.1 PeV up to several PeV. We also show that our model can somewhat alleviate tensions with the extragalactic γ-ray background. First, since a larger fraction of the CR luminosity density comes from high redshifts, the accompanying γ-rays are more strongly suppressed through γγ annihilations with the cosmic microwave background and the extragalactic background light. Second, mildly radiative-cooled shocks may lead to a harder CR spectrum with spectral indices of 1.5 ≲ s ≲ 2.0. Our study suggests that halo mergers, a fraction of which may also induce starbursts in the merged galaxies, can be promising neutrino emitters without violating the existing Fermi γ-ray constraints on the nonblazar component of the extragalactic γ-ray background.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number50
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 10 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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