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Title: Soft gamma rays from low accreting supermassive black holes and connection to energetic neutrinos

The Universe is filled with a diffuse background of MeV gamma-rays and PeV neutrinos, whose origins are unknown. Here, we propose a scenario that can account for both backgrounds simultaneously. Low-luminosity active galactic nuclei have hot accretion flows where thermal electrons naturally emit soft gamma rays via Comptonization of their synchrotron photons. Protons there can be accelerated via turbulence or reconnection, producing high-energy neutrinos via hadronic interactions. We demonstrate that our model can reproduce the gamma-ray and neutrino data. Combined with a contribution by hot coronae in luminous active galactic nuclei, these accretion flows can explain the keV – MeV photon and TeV – PeV neutrino backgrounds. This scenario can account for the MeV background without non-thermal electrons, suggesting a higher transition energy from the thermal to nonthermal Universe than expected. Our model is consistent with X-ray data of nearby objects, and testable by future MeV gamma-ray and high-energy neutrino detectors.

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Nature Communications
Nature Publishing Group
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National Science Foundation
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