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Photon-axion mixing within the jets of active galactic nuclei and prospects for detection

Harris, J.; Chadwick, P.M.


J. Harris


Very high energy γ-ray observations of distant active galactic nuclei (AGN) generally result in higher fluxes and harder spectra than expected, resulting in some tension with the level of the extragalactic background light (EBL). If hypothetical axions or axion-like particles (ALPs) were to exist, this tension could be relieved since the oscillation of photons to ALPs would mitigate the effects of EBL absorption and lead to softer inferred intrinsic AGN spectra. In this paper we consider the effect of photon-ALP mixing on observed spectra, including the photon-ALP mixing that would occur within AGN jets. We then simulate observations of three AGN with the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA), a next generation γ-ray telescope, to determine its prospects for detecting the signatures of photon-ALP mixing on the spectra. We conclude that prospects for CTA detecting these signatures or else setting limits on the ALP parameter space are quite promising. We find that prospects are improved if photon-ALP mixing within the jet is properly considered and that the best target for observations is PKS 2155-304.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 3, 2014
Online Publication Date Oct 9, 2014
Publication Date Oct 9, 2014
Deposit Date Apr 15, 2015
Publicly Available Date Apr 23, 2015
Journal Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics
Publisher IOP Publishing
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 2014
Issue 10
Article Number 018
Keywords Active galactic nuclei, Absorption and radiation processes.
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