Low-luminosity gamma-ray bursts as the sources of ultrahigh-energy cosmic ray nuclei

B. Theodore Zhang, Kohta Murase, Shigeo S. Kimura, Shunsaku Horiuchi, Peter Mészáros

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Recent results from the Pierre Auger Collaboration have shown that the composition of ultrahigh-energy cosmic rays (UHECRs) becomes gradually heavier with increasing energy. Although gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) have been promising sources of UHECRs, it is still unclear whether they can account for the Auger results because of their unknown nuclear composition of ejected UHECRs. In this work, we revisit the possibility that low-luminosity GRBs (LL GRBs) act as the sources of UHECR nuclei and give new predictions based on the intrajet nuclear composition models considering progenitor dependencies. We find that the nuclear component in the jet can be divided into two groups according to the mass fraction of silicon nuclei, Si-free and Si-rich. Motivated by the connection between LL GRBs and transrelativistic supernovae, we also consider the hypernova ejecta composition. Then, we discuss the survivability of UHECR nuclei in the jet base and internal shocks of the jets, and show that it is easier for nuclei to survive for typical LL GRBs. Finally, we numerically propagate UHECR nuclei ejected from LL GRBs with different composition models and compare the resulting spectra and composition to Auger data. Our results show that both the Si-rich progenitor and hypernova ejecta models match the Auger data well, while the Si-free progenitor models have more difficulty in fitting the spectrum. We argue that our model is consistent with the newly reported cross-correlation between the UHECRs and starburst galaxies, since both LL GRBs and hypernovae are expected to be tracers of the star-formation activity. LL GRBs have also been suggested as the dominant origin of IceCube neutrinos in the PeV range, and the LL GRB origin of UHECRs can be critically tested by near-future multimessenger observations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number083010
JournalPhysical Review D
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 23 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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