Robust constraint on Lorentz violation using Fermi-LAT gamma-ray burst data

John Ellis, Rostislav Konoplich, Nikolaos E Mavromatos, Linh Nguyen, Alexander S. Sakharov, Edward K. Sarkisyan-Grinbaum
2019 Physical Review D  
Models of quantum gravity suggest that the vacuum should be regarded as a medium with quantum structure that may have non-trivial effects on photon propagation, including the violation of Lorentz invariance. Fermi Large Area Telescope (LAT) observations of gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) are sensitive probes of Lorentz invariance, via studies of energy-dependent timing shifts in their rapidly-varying photon emissions. In this paper we analyze the Fermi-LAT measurements of high-energy gamma rays from
more » ... gamma rays from GRBs with known redshifts, allowing for the possibility of energy-dependent variations in emission times at the sources as well as a possible non-trivial refractive index in vacuo for photons. We use statistical estimators based on the irregularity, kurtosis and skewness of bursts that are relatively bright in the 100 MeV to multi-GeV energy band to constrain possible dispersion effects during propagation. We find that the energy scale characterizing a linear energy dependence of the refractive index should exceed a few $\times 10^{17}$ GeV, and we estimate the sensitivity attainable with additional future sources to be detected by Fermi-LAT.
doi:10.1103/physrevd.99.083009 fatcat:wjuj7e7ynbcx3ebhhfhiqjwmei