Search for Gamma-Ray Emission from Local Primordial Black Holes with the Fermi Large Area Telescope
Links to Fileshttps://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.3847/1538-4357/aaac7b
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Type of Work11 pages
Citation of Original PublicationM. Ackermann et al, Search for Gamma-Ray Emission from Local Primordial Black Holes with the Fermi Large Area Telescope, The Astrophysical Journal, Volume 857, Number 1,2018, doi: https://doi.org/10.3847%2F1538-4357%2Faaac7b
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Black holes with masses below approximately 10¹⁵ g are expected to emit gamma-rays with energies above a few tens of MeV, which can be detected by the Fermi Large Area Telescope (LAT). Although black holes with these masses cannot be formed as a result of stellar evolution, they may have formed in the early universe and are therefore called primordial black holes (PBHs). Previous searches for PBHs have focused on either short-timescale bursts or the contribution of PBHs to the isotropic gamma-ray emission. We show that, in cases of individual PBHs, the Fermi-LAT is most sensitive to PBHs with temperatures above approximately 16 GeV and masses 6 × 10¹¹ g, which it can detect out to a distance of about 0.03 pc. These PBHs have a remaining lifetime of months to years at the start of the Fermi mission. They would appear as potentially moving point sources with gamma-ray emission that become spectrally harder and brighter with time until the PBH completely evaporates. In this paper, we develop a new algorithm to detect the proper motion of gamma-ray point sources, and apply it to 318 unassociated point sources at a high galactic latitude in the third Fermi-LAT source catalog. None of the unassociated point sources with spectra consistent with PBH evaporation show significant proper motion. Using the nondetection of PBH candidates, we derive a 99% confidence limit on the PBH evaporation rate in the vicinity of Earth, ⍴PBH < 7.2 x 10³ pc⁻³ yr⁻¹. This limit is similar to the limits obtained with ground-based gamma-ray observatories.
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