Mattia Fornasa

University of Zaragoza, Caesaraugusta, Aragon, Spain

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Publications (27)76.57 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: In the last decade direct detection Dark Matter (DM) experiments have increased enormously their sensitivity and ton-scale setups have been proposed, especially using germanium and xenon targets with double readout and background discrimination capabilities. In light of this situation, we study the prospects for determining the parameters of Weakly Interacting Massive Particle (WIMP) DM (mass, spin-dependent (SD) and spin-independent (SI) cross section off nucleons) by combining the results of such experiments in the case of a hypothetical detection. In general, the degeneracy between the SD and SI components of the scattering cross section can only be removed using targets with different sensitivities to these components. Scintillating bolometers, with particle discrimination capability, very good energy resolution and threshold and a wide choice of target materials, are an excellent tool for a multitarget complementary DM search. We investigate how the simultaneous use of scintillating targets with different SD-SI sensitivities and/or light isotopes (as the case of CaF2 and NaI) significantly improves the determination of the WIMP parameters. In order to make the analysis more realistic we include the effect of uncertainties in the halo model and in the spin-dependent nuclear structure functions, as well as the effect of a thermal quenching different from 1.
    03/2014;
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    Mattia Fornasa, Anne M. Green
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    ABSTRACT: Dark Matter (DM) direct detection experiments usually assume the simplest possible 'Standard Halo Model' for the Milky Way (MW) halo in which the velocity distribution is Maxwellian. This model assumes that the MW halo is an isotropic, isothermal sphere, hypotheses that are unlikely to be valid in reality. An alternative approach is to derive a self-consistent solution for a particular mass model of the MW (i.e. obtained from its gravitational potential) using the Eddington formalism, which assumes isotropy. In this paper we extend this approach to incorporate an anisotropic phase-space distribution function. We perform Bayesian scans over the parameters defining the mass model of the MW and parameterising the phase-space density, implementing constraints from a wide range of astronomical observations. The scans allow us to estimate the precision reached in the reconstruction of the velocity distribution (for different DM halo profiles). As expected, allowing for an anisotropic velocity tensor increases the uncertainty in the reconstruction of f(v) but the distribution can still be determined with a precision of a factor of 4-5. The mean velocity distribution resembles the isotropic case, however the amplitude of the high-velocity tail is up to a factor of 2 larger. Our results agree with the phenomenological parametrization proposed in Mao et al. (2013) as a good fit to N-body simulations (with or without baryons), since their velocity distribution is contained in our 68% credible interval.
    11/2013; 89(6).
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    ABSTRACT: Both cosmic shear and cosmological gamma-ray emission stem from the presence of dark matter (DM) in the universe: DM structures are responsible for the bending of light in the weak-lensing regime and those same objects can emit gamma rays, either because they host astrophysical sources (active galactic nuclei or star-forming galaxies) or directly by DM annihilations (or decays, depending on the properties of the DM particle). Such gamma rays should therefore exhibit strong correlation with the cosmic shear signal. In this Letter, we compute the cross-correlation angular power spectrum of cosmic shear and gamma rays produced by the annihilation/decay of weakly interacting massive particle DM, as well as by astrophysical sources. We show that this observable provides novel information on the composition of the extragalactic gamma-ray background (EGB), since the amplitude and shape of the cross-correlation signal strongly depend on which class of sources is responsible for the gamma-ray emission. If the DM contribution to the EGB is significant (at least in a definite energy range), although compatible with current observational bounds, its strong correlation with the cosmic shear makes such signal potentially detectable by combining Fermi Large Area Telescope data with forthcoming galaxy surveys, like the Dark Energy Survey and Euclid. At the same time, the same signal would demonstrate that the weak-lensing observables are indeed due to particle DM matter and not to possible modifications of general relativity.
    The Astrophysical Journal Letters 06/2013; 771(1):L5. · 6.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We study how the combined observation of dark matter in various direct detection experiments can be used to determine the phenomenological properties of WIMP dark matter: mass, spin-dependent (SD) and spin-independent (SI) scattering cross section off nucleons. A convenient choice of target materials, including nuclei that couple to dark matter particles through a significantly different ratio of SD vs SI interactions, could break the degeneracies in the determination of those parameters that a single experiment cannot discriminate. In this work we investigate different targets that can be used as scintillating bolometers and could provide complementary information to germanium and xenon detectors. We observe that Al2O3 and LiF bolometers could allow a good reconstruction of the DM properties over regions of the parameter space with a SD scattering cross section as small as 10^(-5) pb and a SI cross section as small as 5x10^(-10) pb for a 50 GeV WIMP. In the case of a CaWO4 bolometer the area in which full complementarity is obtained is smaller but we show that it can be used to determine the WIMP mass and its SI cross section. For each target we study the required exposure and background.
    Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics 04/2013; 2013(07). · 6.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) is a project for a next-generation observatory for very high energy (GeV-TeV) ground-based gamma-ray astronomy, currently in its design phase, and foreseen to be operative a few years from now. Several tens of telescopes of 2-3 different sizes, distributed over a large area, will allow for a sensitivity about a factor 10 better than current instruments such as H.E.S.S, MAGIC and VERITAS, an energy coverage from a few tens of GeV to several tens of TeV, and a field of view of up to 10 deg. In the following study, we investigate the prospects for CTA to study several science questions that influence our current knowledge of fundamental physics. Based on conservative assumptions for the performance of the different CTA telescope configurations, we employ a Monte Carlo based approach to evaluate the prospects for detection. First, we discuss CTA prospects for cold dark matter searches, following different observational strategies: in dwarf satellite galaxies of the Milky Way, in the region close to the Galactic Centre, and in clusters of galaxies. The possible search for spatial signatures, facilitated by the larger field of view of CTA, is also discussed. Next we consider searches for axion-like particles which, besides being possible candidates for dark matter may also explain the unexpectedly low absorption by extragalactic background light of gamma rays from very distant blazars. Simulated light-curves of flaring sources are also used to determine the sensitivity to violations of Lorentz Invariance by detection of the possible delay between the arrival times of photons at different energies. Finally, we mention searches for other exotic physics with CTA.
    Astroparticle Physics 03/2013; 43:189. · 4.78 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The detailed origin of the diffuse gamma-ray background is still unknown. However, the contribution of unresolved sources is expected to induce small-scale anisotropies in this emission, which may provide a way to identify and constrain the properties of its contributors. Recent studies have predicted the contributions to the angular power spectrum (APS) from extragalactic and galactic dark matter (DM) annihilation or decay. The Fermi-LAT collaboration reported detection of angular power with a significance larger than $3\sigma$ in the energy range from 1 GeV to 10 GeV on 22 months of data [Ackermann et al. 2012]. For these preliminary results the already published Fermi-LAT APS measurements [Ackermann et al. 2012] are compared to the accurate predictions for DM anisotropies from state-of-the-art cosmological simulations as presented in [Fornasa et al. 2013] to derive constraints on different DM candidates.
    03/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: The Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) is a new observatory for very high-energy (VHE) gamma rays. CTA has ambitions science goals, for which it is necessary to achieve full-sky coverage, to improve the sensitivity by about an order of magnitude, to span about four decades of energy, from a few tens of GeV to above 100 TeV with enhanced angular and energy resolutions over existing VHE gamma-ray observatories. An international collaboration has formed with more than 1000 members from 27 countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and North and South America. In 2010 the CTA Consortium completed a Design Study and started a three-year Preparatory Phase which leads to production readiness of CTA in 2014. In this paper we introduce the science goals and the concept of CTA, and provide an overview of the project.
    Astroparticle Physics 03/2013; 43:3-18. · 4.78 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present global fits of the constrained Minimal Supersymmetric Standard Model (cMSSM) and the Non-Universal Higgs Model (NUHM), including the most recent CMS constraint on the Higgs boson mass, 5.8/fb integrated luminosity null Supersymmetry searches by ATLAS, the new LHCb measurement of the Bs to mu+mu- branching ratio and the 7-year WMAP dark matter relic abundance determination. We include the latest dark matter constraints from the XENON100 experiment, marginalising over astrophysical and particle physics uncertainties. We present Bayesian posterior and profile likelihood maps of the highest resolution available today, obtained from up to 350M points. We find that the new constraint on the Higgs boson mass has a dramatic impact, ruling out large regions of previously favoured cMSSM and NUHM parameter space. In the cMSSM, light sparticles and predominantly gaugino-like dark matter with a mass of a few hundred GeV are favoured. The NUHM exhibits a strong preference for heavier sparticle masses and a Higgsino-like neutralino with a mass of 1 TeV. The future ton-scale XENON1T direct detection experiment will probe large portions of the currently favoured cMSSM and NUHM parameter space. The LHC operating at 14 TeV collision energy will explore the favoured regions in the cMSSM, while most of the regions favoured in the NUHM will remain inaccessible. Our best-fit points achieve a satisfactory quality-of-fit, with p-values ranging from 0.21 to 0.35, so that none of the two models studied can be presently excluded at any meaningful significance level.
    Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics 12/2012; 2013(04). · 6.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We study the effect that uncertainties in the nuclear spin-dependent structure functions have in the determination of the dark matter (DM) parameters in a direct detection experiment. We show that different nuclear models that describe the spin-dependent structure function of specific target nuclei can lead to variations in the reconstructed values of the DM mass and scattering cross-section. We propose a parametrization of the spin structure functions that allows us to treat these uncertainties as variations of three parameters, with a central value and deviation that depend on the specific nucleus. The method is illustrated for germanium and xenon detectors with an exposure of 300 kg yr, assuming a hypothetical detection of DM and studying a series of benchmark points for the DM properties. We find that the effect of these uncertainties can be similar in amplitude to that of astrophysical uncertainties, especially in those cases where the spin-dependent contribution to the elastic scattering cross-section is sizable.
    Physical review D: Particles and fields 08/2012;
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    ABSTRACT: The Fermi-LAT collaboration has recently reported the detection of angular power above the photon noise level in the diffuse gamma-ray background between 1 and 50 GeV. Such signal can be used to constrain a possible contribution from Dark-Matter-induced photons. We estimate the intensity and features of the angular power spectrum (APS) of this potential Dark Matter (DM) signal, for both decaying and annihilating DM candidates, by constructing template all-sky gamma-ray maps for the emission produced in the galactic halo and its substructures, as well as in extragalactic (sub)halos. The DM distribution is given by state-of-the-art N-body simulations of cosmic structure formation, namely Millennium-II for extragalactic (sub)halos, and Aquarius for the galactic halo and its subhalos. We use a hybrid method of extrapolation to account for (sub)structures that are below the resolution limit of the simulations, allowing us to estimate the total emission all the way down to the minimal self-bound halo mass. We describe in detail the features appearing in the APS of our template maps and we estimate the effect of various uncertainties such as the value of the minimal halo mass, the fraction of substructures hosted in a halo and the shape of the DM density profile. Our results indicate that the fluctuation APS of the DM-induced emission is of the same order as the Fermi-LAT APS, suggesting that one can constrain this hypothetical emission from the comparison with the measured anisotropy. We also quantify the uncertainties affecting our results, finding "theoretical error bands" spanning more than two orders of magnitude and dominated (for a given particle physics model) by our lack of knowledge of the abundance of low-mass (sub)halos.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 07/2012; 429(2). · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present updated global fits of the constrained Minimal Supersymmetric Standard Model (cMSSM), including the most recent constraints from the ATLAS and CMS detectors at the LHC, as well as the most recent results of the XENON100 experiment. Our robust analysis takes into account both astrophysical and hadronic uncertainties that enter in the calculation of the rate of WIMP-induced recoils in direct detection experiment. We study the consequences for neutralino Dark Matter, and show that current direct detection data already allow to robustly rule out the so-called Focus Point region, therefore demonstrating the importance of particle astrophysics experiments in constraining extensions of the Standard Model of Particle Physics. We also observe an increased compatibility between results obtained from a Bayesian and a Frequentist statistical perspective. We find that upcoming ton-scale direct detection experiments will probe essentially the entire currently favoured region (at the 99% level), almost independently of the statistical approach used. Prospects for indirect detection of the cMSSM are further reduced.
    Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics 01/2012; 2012(01):015. · 6.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The μνSSM is a supersymmetric model that has been proposed to solve the problems generated by other supersymmetric extensions of the standard model of particle physics. Given that R-parity is broken in the μνSSM, the gravitino is a natural candidate for decaying dark matter since its lifetime becomes much longer than the age of the Universe. In this model, gravitino dark matter could be detectable through the emission of a monochromatic gamma ray in a two-body decay. We study the prospects of the Fermi-LAT telescope to detect such monochromatic lines in 5 years of observations of the most massive nearby extragalactic objects. The dark matter halo around the Virgo galaxy cluster is selected as a reference case, since it is associated to a particularly high signal-to-noise ratio and is located in a region scarcely affected by the astrophysical diffuse emission from the galactic plane. The simulation of both signal and background gamma-ray events is carried out with the Fermi Science Tools, and the dark matter distribution around Virgo is taken from a N-body simulation of the nearby extragalactic Universe, with constrained initial conditions provided by the CLUES project. We find that a gravitino with a mass range of 0.6–2 GeV, and with a lifetime range of about 3 × 1027–2 × 1028 s would be detectable by the Fermi-LAT with a signal-to-noise ratio larger than 3. We also obtain that gravitino masses larger than about 4 GeV are already excluded in the μνSSM by Fermi-LAT data of the galactic halo.
    Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics 01/2012; 2012(02):001-001. · 6.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present new global fits of the cMSSM, including LHC 1/fb integrated luminosity SUSY exclusion limits, recent LHC 5/fb constraints on the mass of the Higgs boson and XENON100 direct detection data. Our analysis fully takes into account astrophysical and hadronic uncertainties that enter the analysis when translating direct detection limits into constraints on the cMSSM parameter space. We provide results for both a Bayesian and a Frequentist statistical analysis. We find that LHC 2011 constraints in combination with XENON100 data can rule out a significant portion of the cMSSM parameter space. Our results further emphasise the complementarity of collider experiments and direct detection searches in constraining extensions of Standard Model physics. The LHC 2011 exclusion limit strongly impacts on low-mass regions of cMSSM parameter space, such as the stau co-annihilation region, while direct detection data can rule out regions of high SUSY masses, such as the Focus-Point region, which is unreachable for the LHC in the near future. We show that, in addition to XENON100 data, the experimental constraint on the anomalous magnetic moment of the muon plays a dominant role in disfavouring large scalar and gaugino masses. We find that, should the LHC 2011 excess hinting towards a Higgs boson at 126 GeV be confirmed, currently favoured regions of the cMSSM parameter space will be robustly ruled out from both a Bayesian and a profile likelihood statistical perspective.
    Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics 12/2011; 2012(03). · 6.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Even if Supersymmetric particles are found at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), it will be difficult to prove that they constitute the bulk of the Dark Matter (DM) in the Universe using LHC data alone. We study the complementarity of LHC and DM indirect searches, working out explicitly the reconstruction of the DM properties for a specific benchmark model in the coannihilation region of a 24-parameters supersymmetric model. Combining mock high-luminosity LHC data with present-day null searches for gamma-rays from dwarf galaxies with the Fermi LAT, we show that current Fermi LAT limits already have the capability of ruling out a spurious Wino-like solution that would survive using LHC data only, thus leading to the correct identification of the cosmological solution. We also demonstrate that upcoming Planck constraints on the reionization history will have a similar constraining power, and discuss the impact of a possible detection of gamma-rays from DM annihilation in Draco with a CTA-like experiment. Our results indicate that indirect searches can be strongly complementary to the LHC in identifying the DM particles, even when astrophysical uncertainties are taken into account.
    Physical review D: Particles and fields 11/2011;
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    ABSTRACT: Despite the interest in Dark Matter (DM) searches is currently more focused on underground experiments, a signature of DM annihilation/decay in gamma-rays from the space would constitute a smoking gun for its identification. Here, we present the results of the survey of Segue1 by the MAGIC-I telescope performed in 2008 and 2009. This source is considered by many as the most DM dominated Milky Way satellite galaxy known so far. The nearly 43 hours of data taken constitute the deepest observation ever made on a single dwarf galaxy by Cherenkov telescopes. No significant gamma-ray emission was found above an energy threshold of 100 GeV. Integral upper limits on the gamma-ray flux were calculated assuming various power-law spectra for the possible emission spectrum and for different energy thresholds. We also discuss a novel analysis that fully takes into account the spectral features of the gamma-ray spectrum of specific DM models in a SuperSymmetric scenario.
    10/2011;
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    ABSTRACT: For the first time, the Fermi-LAT measured the angular power spectrum (APS) of anisotropies in the diffuse gamma-ray background. The data is found to be broadly compatible with a model with contributions from the point sources in the 1-year catalog, the galactic diffuse background, and the extragalactic isotropic emission; however deviations are present at both large and small angular scales. In this study, we complement the model with a contribution from Dark Matter (DM) whose distribution is modeled exploiting the results of the most recent N-body simulations, considering the contribution of extragalactic halos and subhalos (from Millennium-II) and of galactic substructures (from Aquarius). With the use of the Fermi Science Tools, these simulations serve as templates to produce mock gamma-ray count maps for DM gamma-ray emission, both in the case of an annihilating and a decaying DM candidate. The APS will then be computed and compared with the Fermi-LAT results to derive constraints on the DM particle physics properties. The possible systematic due to an imperfect model of the galactic foreground is also studied and taken into account properly. The present paper reports on the status of the project.
    Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A Accelerators Spectrometers Detectors and Associated Equipment 10/2011; · 1.14 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Despite the interest in Dark Matter (DM) searches is currently more focused on underground experiments, a signature of DM annihilation/decay in gamma-rays from space would constitute a smoking gun for its identification. In this contribution, we start with a brief review of the efforts of the ground-based MAGIC Cherenkov telescopes system to detect DM signatures from dwarf satellite galaxies orbiting the Milky Way halo. We then present the recent survey of Segue 1, considered by many as possibly the most DM dominated satellite galaxy known in our galaxy. No significant gamma-ray emission was found above the background in around 30 hours of observation. This is the largest survey ever made on a single dwarf by Cherenkov telescopes. We present a novel analysis that fully takes into account the spectral features of the gamma-ray spectrum of specific DM models in a Supersymmetric scenario. We also discuss the prospects of detection after the Fermi observation of similar objects at lower energies.
    09/2011;
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    ABSTRACT: In this work, starting from 21 months of data from the Fermi-Large Area Telescope, we derive maps of the residual isotropic gamma-ray emission, a relevant fraction of which is expected to be contributed by the extragalactic diffuse gamma-ray background. We compute the angular two-point auto-correlation function of the residual Fermi-LAT maps at energies E>1GeV, E>3GeV and E>30GeV well above the Galactic plane and find no significant correlation signal. This is, indeed, what is expected if the EGB were contributed by BL Lacertae, Flat Spectrum Radio Quasars or star-forming galaxies, since, in this case, the predicted signal is very weak. Then, we search for the Integrated Sachs-Wolfe signature by cross-correlating the Fermi-LAT maps with the WMAP7-Cosmic Microwave Background map. We find a cross-correlation consistent with zero, even though the expected signal is larger than that of the EGB auto-correlation. Finally, in an attempt to constrain the nature of the gamma-ray background we cross-correlate the Fermi-LAT maps with the angular distributions of objects that may contribute to the EGB: QSOs in the SDSS-DR6 catalog, NVSS galaxies, 2MASS galaxies and LRG in the SDSS catalog. The cross-correlation is always consistent with zero, in agreement with theoretical expectations, but we find (with low statistical significance) some interesting features that may indicate that some specific classes of objects contribute to the EGB. A chi2 analysis confirms that the correlation properties of the 21-month data do not provide strong constraints of the EGB origin. However, the results suggest that the situation will significantly improve with the 5- and 10-year Fermi-LAT data. The future EGB analysis will then allow placing significant constraints on the nature of the EGB and might provide in addition a detection of the ISW signal. (Abridged)
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 03/2011; 416. · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We report the results of the observation of the nearby satellite galaxy Segue 1 performed by the MAGIC-I ground-based gamma-ray telescope between November 2008 and March 2009 for a total of 43.2 hours. No significant gamma-ray emission was found above the background. Differential upper limits on the gamma-ray flux are derived assuming various power-law slopes for the possible emission spectrum. Integral upper limits are also calculated for several power-law spectra and for different energy thresholds. The values are of the order of 10^{-11} ph cm^{-2}$ s^{-1} above 100 GeV and 10^{-12} ph cm^{-2} s^{-1} above 200 GeV. Segue 1 is currently considered one of the most interesting targets for indirect dark matter searches. In these terms, the upper limits have been also interpreted in the context of annihilating dark matter particles. For such purpose, we performed a grid scan over a reasonable portion of the parameter space for the minimal SuperGravity model and computed the flux upper limit for each point separately, taking fully into account the peculiar spectral features of each model. We found that in order to match the experimental upper limits with the model predictions, a minimum flux boost of 10^{3} is required, and that the upper limits are quite dependent on the shape of the gamma-ray energy spectrum predicted by each specific model. Finally we compared the upper limits with the predictions of some dark matter models able to explain the PAMELA rise in the positron ratio, finding that Segue 1 data are in tension with the dark matter explanation of the PAMELA spectrum in the case of a dark matter candidate annihilating into tau+tau-. A complete exclusion however is not possible due to the uncertainties in the Segue 1 astrophysical factor.
    Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics 03/2011; 6(06). · 6.04 Impact Factor
  • Mattia Fornasa
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    ABSTRACT: Addressing the question about the importance of future Imaging Air Cherenkov Telescopes (IACTs) for indirect detection of Dark Matter (DM), I will review the results of a paper by Bringmann et al. (2008) in which the authors computed the gamma-ray flux from DM annihilation associated to the halos of two reference dwarf Spheroidal galaxies, Draco and Willman 1. The previously neglected contribution of Virtual Internal Bremsstrahlung is also taken into account, which produces, when present, a bump in the higher part of the energy spectrum. The boost factor is the quantity used to describe how far the experiment is from probing interesting DM scenarios and it is computed for the next generation of IACTs, namely MAGIC-II and CTA. Due to the presence of spectral features, the boost factors can vary, becoming dependent to the characteristics of the particular DM candidate, obstacling a clear statement about prospects of detection. However, at least for the case of Willman 1 observed by CTA, boost factors may be below 10, even without considering the effect of substructures or the Sommerfeld enhancement. This, added to the comparison with the prospects of detection by the Fermi satellite, clearly demonstrate that the answer to the question in the title is an affirmative one.
    Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A Accelerators Spectrometers Detectors and Associated Equipment 01/2011; · 1.14 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

274 Citations
76.57 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2013
    • University of Zaragoza
      • Faculty of Sciences (CIENCIAS)
      Caesaraugusta, Aragon, Spain
  • 2012–2013
    • University of Nottingham
      • School of Physics and Astronomy
      Nottigham, England, United Kingdom
  • 2010–2013
    • Instituto De Astrofisica De Andalucia
      Granata, Andalusia, Spain
  • 2011–2012
    • Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
      • Department of Theoretical physics
      Madrid, Madrid, Spain
  • 2008–2009
    • University of Padova
      Padua, Veneto, Italy