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Forging Heavy Elements with Primordial Black Holes



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PIRSA Number: 
17080071

Abstract

Primordial black holes (PBHs) can appear from early Universe dynamics. We show that some or all of heavy element abundance from r-process nucleosynthesis can be produced in interactions of tiny primordial black holes with neutron stars (NSs), if PBHs make up a few percent or more of the dark matter. A PBH captured by a NS will eventually consume it. For a rapidly rotating pulsar, the resulting star spin-up will eject significant amount of cold neutron rich material. The ejection, decompression and decay of nuclear matter can produce electromagnetic transients, like kilonovae and fast radio bursts. Beta decay of ejected material yields positron emission consistent with the observed 511 keV-line from the Galactic Center. Lack of accompanying gravity wave (GW) signal and neutrino emission allows to distinguish these events from supernovae and compact object mergers. Finally, if the consumed star was part of a binary system, long after the event a distinct detectable GW signal from the binary merger with an atypically small solar mass BH will carry information about star's destruction.