High energy neutrinos from the tidal disruption of stars

Cecilia Lunardini, Walter Winter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


We study the production of high energy neutrinos in jets from the tidal disruption of stars by supermassive black holes. The diffuse neutrino flux expected from these tidal disruption events (TDEs) is calculated both analytically and numerically, taking into account the dependence of the rate of TDEs on the redshift and black hole mass. We find that ∼10% of the observed diffuse flux at IceCube at an energy of about 1 PeV can come from TDEs if the characteristics of known jetted tidal disruption events are assumed to apply to the whole population of these sources. If, however, plausible scalings of the jet Lorentz factor or variability time scale with the black hole mass are taken into account, the contribution of the lowest mass black holes to the neutrino flux is enhanced. In this case, TDEs can account for most of the neutrino flux detected at IceCube, describing both the neutrino flux normalization and spectral shape with moderate baryonic loadings. While the uncertainties on our assumptions are large, a possible signature of TDEs as the origin of the IceCube signal is the transition of the flux flavor composition from a pion beam to a muon damped source at the highest energies, which will also result in a suppression of Glashow resonance events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPhysical Review D
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 15 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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