Probing hadronic cross sections in the TeV - PeV regime with DAMPE through machine learning techniques
July 25, 2023
Thanks to its large calorimeter, the DArk Matter Particle Explorer (DAMPE) satellite experiment is ideally suited for the direct detection of cosmic rays (CRs) up to the knee. At these TeV to PeV energies, the main uncertainty on the CR flux measurements comes from the hadronic cross sections, which are largely experimentally unconstrained. We developed novel machine learning (ML) tools that are able to probe the depth at which CRs inelastically interact inside the DAMPE experiment. Applying these techniques to 7 years of DAMPE data, and comparing the results to predictions made by CR simulation frameworks such as Geant4 and FLUKA, we demonstrate how DAMPE data can be used to constrain the hadronic cross sections. Our results thus provide an important step towards reducing the uncertainties of CR flux measurements. Additionally, they form a pathfinder for similar studies with future experiments.
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