Core-collapse supernovae: neutrino-dark matter phenomenology and probes of internal physics

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Virginia Tech


The standard model of particle physics cannot currently explain the origin of neutrino masses and anomalies that have been observed at different experiments. One solution for this is to introduce a beyond the standard model origin for these issues, which introduces a coupling between neutrinos and dark matter. Such an interaction would have implications on cosmology and would be constrained by astrophysical neutrino sources. A promising astrophysical source to probe this interaction is core-collapse supernovae as they release ~3x10^53 erg in neutrinos for each transient. However, more observations that constrain the internal physics of core-collapse supernovae are needed in order to better understand their neutrino emission.

This dissertation studies two probes of internal physics that allow for a better understanding of the neutrino emission from core-collapse supernovae. The first is a novel approach to try and detect more supernova neutrinos that do not come from galactic events nor from the diffuse supernova background. This is accomplished by doing an offline timing coincidence search at neutrino detectors with a search window determined by optical observations of core-collapse supernovae. With a two-tank Hyper-Kamiokande, this allows for ~1 neutrino detection every 10 years with a confidence level of ~2.6 sigma, resulting from low nearby core-collapse rates and large background rates in the energy range of interest. The second probe of internal physics is high energy gamma-rays from the decays of unstable nuclei in proto-magnetar jets. The abundance distribution of the unstable nuclei depends directly on the neutrino emission, which controls the electron fraction, as well as properties of the proto-magnetar. We find that different proto-magnetar properties produce gamma-ray signals that are distinguishable from each other, and multiple types of observations allow for estimations of the jet and proto-magnetar properties. These gamma-ray signals are detectable for on-axis jets out to extragalactic distances, ~35 Mpc in the best case, and for off-axis jets the signal is only detectable for galactic or local galaxies depending upon the viewing angle. This dissertation also studies a phenomenological constraint on the interactions between neutrinos and dark matter. Using the neutrino emission from supernovae and the inferred dark matter distributions in Milky Way dwarf spheroidals, we constrain the amount of energy the neutrinos can inject into the dark matter sub-halos. This then allows a constraint on the interaction cross-section between neutrinos and dark matter with assumptions about the interaction kinematics. Assuming Lambda-CDM to be correct, the neutrinos cannot interact with low mass dark matter too often as it will become gravitationally unbound, changing the mass of the core we see today. For high mass dark matter, neutrinos can only inject a fraction of ~6.8x10^-6 of their energy in order to not conflict with estimates of the current shapes of the dark matter sub-halos. The constraints we obtain are sigma_nu-DM(E_nu=15 MeV, m_DM>130 GeV) ~ 3.4x10^-23 cm^2 and sigma_nu-DM(E_nu=15 MeV, m_DM <130 GeV) ~ 3.2x10^-27} (m_DM/1 GeV)^2 cm^2, which is slightly stronger than previous bounds for these energies. Consideration of baryonic feedback or host galaxy effects on the dark matter profile can strengthen this constraint.



core-collapse supernovae, neutrinos, dark matter, multi-messenger astronomy