On Ultra-high-energy Cosmic Rays and Their Resultant Gamma-Rays Academic Article uri icon


  • The Fermi Large Area Telescope (Fermi LAT) collaboration has recently reported on 50 months of measurements of the isotropic Extragalactic Gamma Ray Background (EGRB) spectrum between $100\mbox{MeV}$ and $820\mbox{GeV}$. Ultrahigh Energy Cosmic Ray (UHECR) protons interact with the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) photons and produce cascade photons of energies $10\mbox{MeV}\mbox{-}1\mbox{TeV}$ that contribute to the EGRB flux. We examine seven possible evolution models for UHECRs and find that UHECR sources that evolve as the Star Formation Rate (SFR), medium low luminosity active galactic nuclei type-1 ($L = 10^{43.5}\mbox{erg sec}^{-1}$ in the $[0.5\mbox{-}2]\mbox{KeV}$ band), and BL Lacertae objects (BL Lacs) are the most acceptable given the constraints imposed by the observed EGRB. Other possibilities produce too much secondary $\gamma$-radiation. In all cases, the decaying dark matter contribution improves the fit at high energy, but the contribution of still unresolved blazars, which would leave the smallest role for decaying dark matter, may yet provide an alternative improvement. The possibility that the entire EGRB can be fitted with resolvable but not-yet-resolved blazars, as recently claimed by Ajello et al. (2015), would leave little room in the EGRB to accommodate $\gamma$-rays from extragalactic UHECR production, even for many source evolution rates that would otherwise be acceptable. We find that, under the assumption of UHECRs being mostly protons, there is not enough room for producing extragalactic UHECRs with AGN, GRB, or even SFR source evolution. Sources that evolve as BL Lacs on the other hand, would produce much less secondary $\gamma$-radiation and would remain a viable source of UHECRs, provided that they dominate.

publication date

  • January 1, 2016