High-energy phenomena in the cosmos, and in particular processes leading to the emission of gamma- rays in the energy range 10 MeV - 100 TeV, play a very special role in the understanding of our Universe. This energy range is indeed associated with non-thermal phenomena and challenging particle acceleration processes. The Universe can be thought as a context where fundamental physics, relativistic processes, strong gravity regimes, and plasma instabilities can be explored in a way that is not possible to reproduce in our laboratories. High-energy astrophysics and atmospheric plasma physics are indeed not esoteric subjects, but are strongly linked with our daily life. Understanding cosmic high-energy processes has a large impact on our theories and laboratories applications. The technology involved in detecting gamma-rays is challenging and drives our ability to develop improved instruments for a large variety of applications.
In the last decades a vast amount of evidence for the existence of dark matter has been accumulated. At the same time, many efforts have been undertaken to try to identify what dark matter is. Indirect searches look at places in the Universe where dark matter is believed to be abundant and seek for possible annihilation or decay signatures.
At high energies, the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) represents the next generation of imaging Cherenkov telescopes and, with one site in the Southern hemisphere and one in the Northern hemisphere, will be able to observe all the sky with unprecedented sensitivity and angular resolution above a few tens of GeV. The CTA Consortium will undertake an ambitious program of indirect dark matter searches for which we report here the brightest prospects.
At lower energies, the energy range between 1 and 100 MeV is an experimentally very difficult range and remained uncovered since the time of COMPTEL. New instruments can address all astrophysical issues left open by the current generation of instruments. In particular, a good angular resolution in the energy range 10 MeV - 1 GeV is crucial to resolve patchy and complex features of diffuse sources in the Galaxy and in the Galactic Centre as well as increasing the point source sensitivity. This instrument addresses scientific topics of great interest to the community, with particular emphasis on multifrequency correlation studies involving radio, optical, IR, X-ray, soft gamma-ray and TeV emission.
The possibility to study not only the pair production regime but also the Compton regime with this kind of detectors is currently under investigation and it is another possible very interesting breaktrough.