On the detectability of 57Fe axion-photon mode conversion in the Sun
Space Science Division, Naval Research Laboratory, Code 7684, Washington, DC 20375, USA
Received: 10 September 2012
Accepted: 16 March 2013
Aims. The purpose of this paper is to assess the feasibility of axion detection by X-ray spectroscopy of the sun.
Methods. We review the theory of axion-photon mode conversion with special attention to axions emitted in the 14.4 keV M1 decay of 57Fe at the solar center. These then mode convert to photons in the outer layers of the solar envelope, and may in principle be detected subsequently as X-rays.
Results. For axion masses above about 10-4 eV, resonant mode conversion at a layer where the axion mass matches the local electron plasma frequency is necessary. For axion masses above about 10-2 eV, this mode conversion occurs too deep in the solar atmosphere for the resulting photon to escape the solar surface and be detected before Compton scattering obscures the line. At the (detectable) axion masses below this, the flux of mode converted photons predicted by axion models appears to be too low for detection to be feasible with current instrumentation. Nonresonant mode conversion for axion masses below 10-4 eV is also plausible, but with still lower predicted fluxes, since the axion coupling constant is related to its mass.
Conclusions. Prospects for meaningful constraints on massive axion parameters from X-ray observations of this transition from the Sun do not appear to be promising. However parameters for massless counterparts (e.g. the “arion”) may still result from such observations. It may mode convert in the outer layers of the solar atmosphere, but is not restricted by this to have a small coupling constant.
Key words: elementary particles / Sun: particle emission / Sun: X-rays, gamma rays
© ESO, 2013