Over the past decade, extensive studies have been undertaken to search for photon signals from dark matter annihilation or decay for dark matter particle masses above $\sim1$ GeV. However, due to the lacking sensitivity of current experiments at MeV-GeV energies, sometimes dubbed the ‘MeV gap’, dark matter models with MeV to sub-GeV particle masses have received little attention so far. Various proposed MeV missions (like, e.g., e-ASTROGAM or AMEGO) are aimed at closing this gap in the mid- or long-term future. This, and the absence of clear dark matter signals in the GeV-TeV range, makes it relevant to carefully reconsider the expected experimental instrumental sensitivities in this mass range. The most common two-body annihilation channels for sub-GeV dark matter are to neutrinos, electrons, pions or directly to photons. Among these, only the electron channel has been extensively studied, and almost exclusively in the context of the 511 keV line. In this work, we study the prospects for detecting MeV dark matter annihilation in general in future MeV missions, using e-ASTROGAM as reference, and focusing on dark matter masses in the range 1 MeV-3 GeV. In the case of leptonic annihilation, we emphasise the importance of the often overlooked bremsstrahlung and in-flight annihilation spectral features, which in many cases provide the dominant gamma-ray signal in this regime.
R. Bartels, D. Gaggero and C. Weniger
Thu, 9 Mar 17
Comments: 13 pages, 5 figures, 1 table + appendix. Comments welcome