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Smolla, Marco; Schäfer, Benjamin; Lesch, Harald; Beck, Christian (September 2020): Universal properties of primary and secondary cosmic ray energy spectra. In: New Journal of Physics, Vol. 22: pp. 1-10
Creative Commons Attribution - Published Version 1MB
[img] Creative Commons Attribution - Published Version 1MB


Atomic nuclei appearing in cosmic rays (CRs) are typically classified as primary or secondary. However, a better understanding of their origin and propagation properties is still necessary. We analyse the flux of primary (He, C, O) and secondary nuclei (Li, Be, B) detected with rigidity (momentum/charge) between 2 GV and 3 TV by the alpha magnetic spectrometer on the International Space Station. We show that q-exponential distribution functions, as motivated by generalized versions of statistical mechanics with temperature fluctuations, provide excellent fits for the measured flux of all nuclei considered. Primary and secondary fluxes reveal a universal dependence on kinetic energy per nucleon for which the underlying energy distribution functions are solely distinguished by their effective degrees of freedom. All given spectra are characterized by a universal mean temperature parameter~ 200 MeV which agrees with the Hagedorn temperature. Our analysis suggests that QCD scattering processes together with nonequilibrium temperature fluctuations imprint universally onto the measured CR spectra, and produce a similar shape of energy spectra as high energy collider experiments on the Earth.