We present a new method to derive an upper limit on the ultra-high-energy (UHE) photon flux above a given energy, using the Auger SD events. As previous studies, it takes advantage of the fundamental differences between showers induced by hadrons and showers induced by photons (signal rise time, slope of the Lateral Distribution Function, radius of curvature), but it uses photon shower simulations adapted to the actually observed SD events, on an event-by-event basis. In particular, we find that a limited number of simulations per event allows to reach an upper limit that is very close to the ideal case that would be obtained with an infinite number of simulations. For instance, 10 simulated showers per event are sufficient to reach an upper limit only 10 percent higher than the ideal one. As an illustration, we apply this method to the SD events reconstructed above 55 EeV, which provides an optimized upper limit on the photon flux above 150 EeV, and indicate how this can be easily extended to the lower-energy events, to constrain the photon flux down to much lower energies.
Guillaume Decerprit, N. G. Busca, E. Parizot
Arxiv.org (Submitted on 14 Oct 2016)