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Imprints of axion superradiance in the CMB

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Diego Blas, Samuel J. Witte

Original languageEnglish
Article number103018
JournalPhysical Review D
Issue number10
Published16 Nov 2020

King's Authors


Light axions (ma10-10 eV) can form dense clouds around rapidly rotating astrophysical black holes via a mechanism known as rotational superradiance. The coupling between axions and photons induces a parametric resonance, arising from the stimulated decay of the axion cloud, which can rapidly convert regions of large axion number densities into an enormous flux of low-energy photons. In this work we consider the phenomenological implications of a superradiant axion cloud undergoing resonant decay. We show that the low-energy photons produced from such events will be absorbed over cosmologically short distances, potentially inducing massive shockwaves that heat and ionize the intergalactic medium over Mpc scales. These shockwaves may leave observable imprints in the form of anisotropic spectral distortions or inhomogeneous features in the optical depth.

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