Search for Ultra-High Energy Photons with the Pierre Auger Observatory




cosmic rays, ultra-high energy photons, upper limits to UHE photon fluxes


One of key scientific objectives of the Pierre Auger Observatory is the search for ultra-high energy photons. Such photons could originate either in the interactions of energetic cosmic-ray nuclei with the cosmic microwave background (so-called cosmogenic photons) or in the exotic scenarios, e.g. those assuming a production and decay of some hypothetical super-massive particles. The latter category of models would imply relatively large fluxes of photons with ultra-high energies at Earth, while the former, involving interactions of cosmic-ray nuclei with the microwave background - just the contrary: very small fractions. The investigations on the data collected so far in the Pierre Auger Observatory led to placing very stringent limits to ultra-high energy photon fluxes: below the predictions of the most of the exotic models and nearing the predicted fluxes of the cosmogenic photons. In this paper the status of these investigations and perspectives for further studies are summarized.






New physics searches with photons, connections to astrophysics, and other topics