Parametric Model for Astrophysical Proton-Proton Interactions and Applications

University dissertation from Stockholm : KTH

Abstract: Observations of gamma-rays have been made from celestial sources such as active galaxies, gamma-ray bursts and supernova remnants as well as the Galactic ridge. The study of gamma rays can provide information about production mechanisms and cosmic-ray acceleration. In the high-energy regime, one of the dominant mechanisms for gamma-ray production is the decay of neutral pions produced in interactions of ultra-relativistic cosmic-ray nuclei and interstellar matter.Presented here is a parametric model for calculations of inclusive cross sections and transverse momentum distributions for secondary particles - gamma rays, elecrons, positrons, electron neutrinos, electron antineutrinos, muon neutrinos and muon antineutrinos - produced in proton-proton interactions. This parametric model is derived on the proton-proton interaction model proposed by Kamae et al.; it includes the diffraction dissociation process, Feynman-scaling violation and the logarithmically rising inelastic proton-proton cross section. To improve fidelity to experimental data for lower energies, two baryon resonance excitation processes were added; one representing the Delta(1232) and the other multiple resonances with masses around 1600 MeV/c^2. The model predicts the power-law spectral index for all secondary particles to be about 0.05 lower in absolute value than that of the incident proton and their inclusive cross sections to be larger than those predicted by previous models based on the Feynman-scaling hypothesis.The applications of the presented model in astrophysics are plentiful. It has been implemented into the Galprop code to calculate the contribution due to pion decays in the Galactic plane. The model has also been used to estimate the cosmic-ray flux in the Large Magellanic Cloud based on HI, CO and gamma-ray observations. The transverse momentum distributions enable calculations when the proton distribution is anisotropic. It is shown that the gamma-ray spectrum and flux due to a pencil beam of protons varies drastically with viewing angle. A fanned proton jet with a Gaussian intensity profile impinging on surrounding material is given as a more realistic example. As the observer is moved off the jet axis, the peak of the spectrum is moved to lower energies.