Light from cosmic strings

Danièle A. Steer, Tanmay Vachaspati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The time-dependent metric of a cosmic string leads to an effective interaction between the string and photons-the "gravitational Aharonov-Bohm" effect-and causes cosmic strings to emit light. We evaluate the radiation of pairs of photons from cosmic strings and find that the emission from cusps, kinks and kink-kink collisions occurs with a flat spectrum at all frequencies up to the string scale. Further, cusps emit a beam of photons, kinks emit along a curve, and the emission at a kink-kink collision is in all directions. The emission of light from cosmic strings could provide an important new observational signature of cosmic strings that is within reach of current experiments for a range of string tensions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number043528
JournalPhysical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 25 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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