Search for ultra-high energy photons: Observing the preshower effect with gamma-ray telescopes

Kevin Almeida Cheminant, Dariusz Góra, David E. Alvarez Castillo, Niraj Dhital, Piotr Homola, Pawel Jagoda, Konrad Kopanski, Marcin Kasztelan, Peter Kovacs, Marta Marek, Vahab Nazari, Michal Niedzwiecki, Katarzyna Smelcerz, Karel Smolek, Jaroslaw Stasielak, Oleksandr Sushchov, Krzysztof Rzecki, Tadeusz Wibig, Jilberto Zamora-Saa

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Ultra-high energy photons constitute one of the most important pieces of the astroparticle physics problems. Their observation may provide new insight on several phenomena such as supermassive particle annihilation or the GZK effect. Because of the absence of any significant photon identification by a leading experiments such as the Pierre Auger Observatory, we consider a screening phenomenon called preshower effect which could efficiently affect ultra-high energy photon propagation. This effect is a consequence of photon interactions with the geomagnetic field and results in large electromagnetic cascade of particles several thousands kilometers above the atmosphere. This collection of particles, called cosmic-ray ensembles (CRE), may reach the atmosphere and produce the well-known air showers. In this paper we propose to use gamma-ray telescopes to look for air showers induced by CRE. Possible sources of ultra-high energy photons include the GZK effect and Super Heavy Dark Matter particles. Simulations involving the preshower effect and detectors response are performed and properties of these peculiar air showers are investigated. The use of boosted decision trees to obtain the best cosmic-ray ensemble/hadron separation, the aperture and event rate predictions for a few models of photon production are also presented.

Original languageEnglish
JournalProceedings of Science
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019
Event36th International Cosmic Ray Conference, ICRC 2019 - Madison, United States
Duration: 24 Jul 20191 Aug 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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