Strong lensing of gamma ray bursts as a probe of compact dark matter

Lingyuan Ji, Ely D. Kovetz, Marc Kamionkowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Compact dark matter has been efficiently constrained in the M10 M mass range by null searches for microlensing of stars in nearby galaxies. Here we propose to probe the mass range M10 M by seeking echoes in gamma-ray-burst light curves induced by strong lensing. We show that strong gravitational lensing of gamma ray bursts (GRBs) by massive compact halo objects (MACHOs) generates superimposed GRB images with a characteristic time delay of 1 ms for M10 M. Using dedicated simulations to capture the relevant phenomenology of the GRB prompt emission, we calculate the signal-to-noise ratio required to detect GRB lensing events as a function of the flux ratio and time delay between the lensed images. We then analyze existing data from the Fermi GBM and Swift BAT instruments to assess their constraining power on the compact dark matter fraction fDM. We find that these data are noise limited, and therefore localization-based masking of background photons is a key ingredient. Future observatories with better sensitivity will be able to probe down to the fDM1% level across the 10 MM1000 M mass range.

Original languageEnglish
Article number123523
JournalPhysical Review D
Issue number12
StatePublished - 15 Dec 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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