Impact of oscillations of photons into axion-like particles on the very-high energy gamma-ray spectrum of the blazar PKS1424+240

Very high energy (VHE) gamma-rays undergo pair production with low energy photons of background radiation fields. This leads to an attenuation of the primary gamma-ray flux of extragalactic sources in the interaction with the extragalactic background light (EBL) which stretches from ultraviolet to far-infrared wavelengths.
In the presence of magnetic fields, gamma-rays could oscillate into hypothetical axion-like particles (ALPs). This might lead to a reduced opacity of the Universe for VHE gamma-rays, as ALPs circumvent pair production. Here, the impact of photon-ALP conversions on the spectrum of PKS1424+240 is demonstrated. A lower limit on the redshift of this blazar was recently determined to be $z \geqslant 0.6035$, making it the farthest source ever observed at VHE energies. Under the assumption of a specific magnetic field scenario and EBL model, photon-ALP couplings are derived that lead to an overall concave intrinsic blazar spectrum.

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Date added: Wed, 9 Oct 13