Little is known about dark matter beyond the fact that it does not interact with the standard model or itself, or else does so incredibly weakly. A natural candidate, given the history of no-go theorems against their interactions, are higher spin fields. Here we develop the scenario of higher spin (spin $s>2$) dark matter. We show that the gravitational production of superheavy bosonic higher spin fields during inflation can provide all the dark matter we observe today. We consider the observable signatures, and find a potential characteristic signature of bosonic higher spin dark matter in directional direct detection; we find that there are distinct spin-dependent contributions to the double differential recoil rate, which complement the oscillatory imprint of higher spin fields in the cosmic microwave background. We consider the extension to higher spin fermions and supersymmetric higher spins.

A statistically significant excess of gamma rays has been reported and robustly confirmed in the Galactic Center over the past decade. Large local dark matter densities suggest that this Galactic Center Excess (GCE) may be attributable to new physics, and indeed it has been shown that this signal is well-modelled by annihilations dominantly into $b\bar{b}$ with a WIMP-scale cross section. In this paper, we consider Majorana dark matter annihilating through a Higgs portal as a candidate source for this signal, where a large CP-violation in the Higgs coupling may serve to severely suppress scattering rates. In particular, we explore the phenomenology of two minimal UV completions, a singlet-doublet model and a doublet-triplet model, and map out the available parameter space which can give a viable signal while respecting current experimental constraints.

An electron muon collider is proposed here targeting at multi-ab$^{-1}$ integrated luminosities at various stages, involving asymmetrical collision profile of, e.g., 20-200 GeV, 50-1000 GeV and 100-3000 GeV for the electron and muon beam energy, respectively. This novel collider can serve as a powerful machine to probe lepton flavor violation and measure Higgs boson properties precisely. The collision of an electron and a muon beam leads to less physics backgrounds compared with either an electron-electron or a muon-muon beam, as physics processes appear mostly through vector boson fusion or scattering. The asymmetrical beam energy tends to have collision products boosted towards the electron beam side, which can be exploited to reduce beam-induced background from muon beam upstream to a large extent.

We derive the DGLAP independent evolution equations to extract the decoupled structure functions at high-order correction in the small $x$ limit. Determination of the longitudinal structure function is present due to the parameterization of $F_{2}(x,Q^{2})$ and its derivative. Analytical expressions for $\sigma_{r}(x,Q^{2})$ in terms of the effective parameters of the parameterization of $F_{2}(x,Q^{2})$ and $F_{L}(x,Q^{2})$ are presented. This analysis is enriched by including the higher-twist effects in calculation of the reduced cross sections which is important at low-$x$ and low-$Q^{2}$ regions. Numerical calculations and comparison with H1 data demonstrate that the suggested method provides reliable $F_{L}(x,Q^{2})$ and $\sigma_{r}(x,Q^{2})$ at low $x$ in a wide range of the low absolute four-momentum transfers squared ($1.5~\mathrm{GeV}^{2}

We construct a multiscalar and non-renormalizable model where the $\mathbf{S}_{3}$ flavor symmetry drives mainly the Yukawa couplings. In the quark sector, the Nearest Neighbor Interaction (NNI) textures are behind the CKM mixing matrix so that this is fitted in good agreement with the last available results. In the lepton sector, an almost diagonal charged lepton mass matrix and extended Fritzsch mass textures in the effective neutrino mass matrix, that comes from the type II see-saw mechanism, provide consistent values for the mixing angles where the normal hierarchy is favored. The model predicts a CP-violating phase consistent with the experimental data and the BR for the lepton flavor violation process, $\mu\rightarrow e\gamma$, is well below the current bound.

We conduct a dynamical calculation of pentaquark systems with quark contents $sssu\bar{u}$ in the framework of two quark models: the chiral quark model(ChQM) and quark delocalization color screening model(QDCSM). The effective potentials between baryon and meson clusters are given, and the possible bound states are also investigated. Besides, the study of the scattering process of the open channels is also performed to look for any resonance state. The results show that the $\Omega(2012)$ is not suitable for the interpretation as a $\Xi^{*} \bar{K}$ molecular state in present quark models. Two resonance states: the $\Xi^{*}\bar{K}^{*}$ with $IJ^{P}=0\frac{3}{2}^{-}$ ($M=2328\sim2374$ MeV, $\Gamma=57\sim65.5$ MeV) and $IJ^{P}=1\frac{3}{2}^{-}$ ($M=2341\sim2386$ MeV, $\Gamma=31.5\sim100$ MeV) are obtained in both QDCSM and ChQM, which indicates that both of these two states are more possible to be existed and worthy of being searched by future experiments.

We discuss the possible origin of the Majorana mass scale(s) required for the "Neutrino Option" where the electroweak scale is generated simultaneously with light neutrino masses in a type-I seesaw model, by common dimension four interactions. We establish no-go constraints on the perturbative generation of the Majorana masses required due to global symmetries of the seesaw Lagrangian.

Using modern multiloop calculation methods, we derive the analytical expressions for the total cross sections of the processes $e^-\gamma \to e^-X\bar{X}$ with $X=\mu,\,\gamma$ or $e$ at arbitrary energies. For the first two processes our results are expressed via classical polylogarithms. The cross section of $e^-\gamma \to e^-e^-e^+$ is represented as a one-fold integral of complete elliptic integral $\mathrm{K}$ and logarithms. Using our results, we calculate the threshold and high-energy asymptotics and compare them with available results.

In this work, we investigate the reaction of $\gamma\gamma \to D\bar{D}$, taking into account the s-wave $D\bar{D}$ final state interaction. By fitting to the $D\bar{D}$ invariant mass distributions measured by the Belle and BaBar Collaborations, we obtain a good reproduction of the data by means of a $D\bar{D}$ amplitude that produces a bound $D\bar{D}$ state with $I=0$ close to threshold. The error bands of the fits indicate, however, that more precise data on this reaction are needed to be more assertive about the position and width of such state.

In the scattering of a small onium off a large nucleus at high center-of-mass energies, when the parameters are set in such a way that the cross section at fixed impact parameter is small, events are triggered by rare partonic fluctuations of the onium, which are very deformed with respect to typical configurations. Using the color dipole picture of high-energy interactions in quantum chromodynamics, in which the quantum states of the onium are represented by sets of dipoles generated by a branching process, we describe the typical scattering configurations as seen from different reference frames, from the restframe of the nucleus to frames in which the rapidity is shared between the projectile onium and the nucleus. We show that taking advantage of the freedom to select a frame in the latter class makes possible to derive complete asymptotic expressions for some boost-invariant quantities, beyond the total cross section, from a procedure which leverages the limited available knowledge on the properties of the solutions to the Balitsky-Kovchegov equation that governs the rapidity-dependence of total cross sections. We obtain in this way an analytic expression for the rapidity-distribution of the first branching of the slowest parent dipole of the set of those which scatter. This distribution provides an estimator of the correlations of the interacting dipoles, and is also known to be related to the rapidity-gap distribution in diffractive dissociation, an observable measurable at a future electron-ion collider. Furthermore, our result may be formulated as a more general conjecture, that we expect to hold true for any one-dimensional branching random walk model, on the branching time of the most recent common ancestor of all the particles that end up to the right of a given position.

A fast leading-order Monte Carlo generator for the process $e^+ e^- \to \mu^+\mu^- \gamma$ is described. Matrix elements are calculated using the helicity amplitude method. Monte Carlo algorithm uses the acceptance-rejection method with an appropriately chosen simplified distribution that can be generated using an efficient algorithm. We provide a detailed pedagogical exposition of both the helicity amplitude method and the Monte Carlo technique, which we hope will be useful for high energy physics students.

We postulate that the exactly conserved weak hypercharge Y gives rise to a superselection rule for both observables and gauge transformations. This yields a change of the definition of the particle subspace adopted in recent work with Michel Dubois-Violette; here we exclude the zero eigensubspace of Y consisting of the sterile (anti)neutrinos which are allowed to mix. One thus modifies the Lie superalgebra generated by the Higgs field. Equating the field normalizations in the lepton and the quark subalgebras we obtain a relation between the masses of the W boson and the Higgs that fits the experimental values within one percent accuracy.

We present a precise and efficient computation of the two-loop amplitudes entering the Higgs boson pair production process via gluon fusion. Our approach is based on the small-Higgs-mass expansion while keeping the full dependence on the top quark mass and other kinematic invariants. We compare our results to the up-to-date predictions based on a combination of sector decomposition and high-energy expansion. We find that our method provides precision numeric predictions in the entire phase space, while at the same time is highly efficient as the computation can be easily performed on a normal desktop or laptop computer. Our method is valuable for practical phenomenological studies of the Higgs boson pair production process, and can also be applied to other similar processes.

Shear viscosity is a dynamical property of fluid systems close to equilibrium, describing resistance to sheared flow. After reviewing the physics of viscosity and the reason it is usually difficult to compute, I discuss its importance within the theory of QCD and the obstacles to carrying out such a computation. A diagrammatic analysis requires extensive resummations and even then convergence is poor at physically relevant couplings. Lattice approaches require a poorly controlled analytical continuation of data from the Euclidean to the Minkowski domain. At present our best results for QCD shear viscosity come from the hydrodynamical interpretations of experiments, with first-principles calculations trailing behind.

In the presence of a real singlet scalar field with $\mathbb{Z}_2$ symmetry in addition to the Higgs field in the Standard Model, we study all possible one-step and two-step electroweak phase transitions. For each scenario we provide with the necessary conditions on the parameters of the model to guarantee a first-order phase transition if ever possible. In particular, we examine the possibility of a first-order phase transition in an intermediate temperature interval in two-step phase transitions.

Reactor neutrino experiments provide a rich environment for the study of axionlike particles (ALPs). Using the intense photon flux produced in the nuclear reactor core, these experiments have the potential to probe ALPs with masses below 10 MeV. We explore the feasibility of these searches by considering ALPs produced through Primakoff and Compton-like processes as well as nuclear transitions. These particles can subsequently interact with the material of a nearby detector via inverse Primakoff and inverse Compton-like scatterings, via axio-electric absorption, or they can decay into photon or electron-positron pairs. We demonstrate that reactor-based neutrino experiments have a high potential to test ALP-photon couplings and masses, currently probed only by cosmological and astrophysical observations, thus providing complementary laboratory-based searches. We furthermore show how reactor facilities will be able to test previously unexplored regions in the $\sim$MeV ALP mass range and ALP-electron couplings of the order of $g_{aee} \sim 10^{-8}$ as well as ALP-nucleon couplings of the order of $g_{ann}^{(1)} \sim 10^{-9}$, testing regions beyond TEXONO and Borexino limits.

In this mini review, we discuss some recent developments regarding properties of (quantum) field-theory models containing anti-Hermitian Yukawa interactions between pseudoscalar fields (axions) and Dirac (or Majorana) fermions. Specifically, after motivating physically such interactions, in the context of string-inspired low-energy effective field theories, involving right-handed neutrinos and axion fields, we proceed to discuss their formal consistency within the so-called Parity-Time-reversal(PT)-symmetry framework, as well as dynamical mass generation, induced by the Yukawa interactions, for both fermions and axions. The Yukawa couplings are assumed weak, given that they are conjectured to have been generated by non-perturbative effects in the underlying microscopic string theory. The models under discussion contain, in addition to the Yukawa terms, also anti-Hermitian anomalous derivative couplings of the pseudoscalar fields to axial fermion currents, as well as interactions of the fermions with non-Hermitian axial backgrounds. We discuss the role of such additional couplings on the Yukawa-induced dynamically-generated masses. For the case where the fermions are right-handed neutrinos, we compare such masses with the radiative ones induced by both, the anti-Hermitian anomalous terms and the anti-Hermitian Yukawa interactions in phenomenologically relevant models.

We apply effective field theory (EFT) methods to compute the renormalization group improved effective potential for theories with a large mass hierarchy. Our method allows one to compute the answer in a systematic expansion in powers of the mass ratio, as well as to sum the logarithms using renormalization group evolution. The effective potential is the sum of one-particle irreducible diagrams (1PI) but information about which diagrams are 1PI is lost after matching to the EFT, since heavy lines get shrunk to a point. We therefore introduce a tadpole condition in place of the 1PI condition. We also explain why the effective potential computed using an EFT is not the same as the effective potential of the EFT. We illustrate our method using the $O(N)$ model, a theory of two scalars in the unbroken and broken phases, and the Higgs-Yukawa model. Our leading-log result obtained by integrating the one-loop $\beta$-functions correctly reproduces the log-squared term in explicit two-loop calculations.

We present an algorithm that extends existing quantum algorithms for simulating fermion systems in quantum chemistry and condensed matter physics to include bosons in general and phonons in particular. We introduce a qubit representation for the low-energy subspace of phonons which allows an efficient simulation of the evolution operator of the electron-phonon systems. As a consequence of the Nyquist-Shannon sampling theorem, the phonons are represented with exponential accuracy on a discretized Hilbert space with a size that increases linearly with the cutoff of the maximum phonon number. The additional number of qubits required by the presence of phonons scales linearly with the size of the system. The additional circuit depth is constant for systems with finite-range electron-phonon and phonon-phonon interactions and linear for long-range electron-phonon interactions. Our algorithm for a Holstein polaron problem was implemented on an Atos Quantum Learning Machine (QLM) quantum simulator employing the Quantum Phase Estimation method. The energy and the phonon number distribution of the polaron state agree with exact diagonalization results for weak, intermediate and strong electron-phonon coupling regimes.

The understanding of heavy ion collisions and its quark-gluon plasma formation requires a complicated interplay of rich physics in a wealth of experimental data. In this work we compare for identified particles the transverse momentum dependence of both the yields and the anisotropic flow coefficients for both PbPb and $p$Pb collisions. We do this in a global model fit including a free streaming prehydrodynamic phase with variable velocity $v_\text{fs}$, thereby widening the scope of initial conditions. During the hydrodynamic phase we vary three second order transport coefficients. The free streaming velocity has a preference slightly below the speed of light. In this extended model the bulk viscosity is small and even consistent with zero.

Observations show that supermassive black holes (SMBHs) with a mass of $\sim10^9 M_\odot$ exist when the Universe was just 6% of its current age. We propose a scenario where a self-interacting dark matter halo experiences gravothermal instability and its central region collapses into a seed black hole. The presence of baryons in protogalaxies could significantly accelerate the gravothermal evolution of the halo and shorten collapse timescales. The central halo could dissipate its angular momentum remnant via viscosity induced by the self-interactions. The host halo must be on high tails of density fluctuations, implying that high-z SMBHs are expected to be rare in this scenario, and the predicted host mass broadly agrees with the dynamical mass inferred from observations. We further derive conditions for triggering general relativistic instability of the collapsed region. Our results indicate that self-interacting dark matter can provide a unified explanation for diverse dark matter distributions in galaxies today and the origin of SMBHs at redshifts $z\sim6-7$.

We introduce a model for heavy ion collisions named Trajectum, which includes an expanded initial stage with a variable free streaming velocity $v_{\rm fs}$ and a hydrodynamic stage with three varying second order transport coefficients. We describe how to obtain a Gaussian Emulator for this 20-parameter model and show results for key observables. This emulator can be used to obtain Bayesian posterior estimates on the parameters, which we test by an elaborate closure test as well as a convergence study. Lastly, we employ the optimal values of the parameters found in [1] to perform a detailed comparison to experimental data from PbPb and $p$Pb collisions. This includes both observables that have been used to obtain these values as well as wider transverse momentum ranges and new observables such as correlations of event-plane angles.

We present a comprehensive study of neutrino shock acceleration in core-collapse supernova (CCSN). The leading players are heavy leptonic neutrinos, $\nu_{\mu}$ and $\nu_{\tau}$; the former and latter potentially gain the energy up to $\sim 100$ MeV and $\sim 200$ MeV, respectively, through the shock acceleration. Demonstrating the neutrino shock acceleration by Monte Carlo neutrino transport, we make a statement that it commonly occurs in the early post bounce phase ($\lesssim 50$ ms after bounce) for all massive stellar collapse experiencing nuclear bounce and would reoccur in the late phase ($\gtrsim 100$ ms) for failed CCSNe. This opens up a new possibility to detect high energy neutrinos by terrestrial detectors from Galactic CCSNe; hence, we estimate the event counts for Hyper(Super)-Kamiokande, DUNE, and JUNO. We find that the event count with the energy of $\gtrsim 80$ MeV is a few orders of magnitude higher than that of the thermal neutrinos regardless of the detectors, and muon production may also happen in these detectors by $\nu_{\mu}$ with the energy of $\gtrsim 100$ MeV. The neutrino signals provide a precious information on deciphering the inner dynamics of CCSN and placing a constraint on the physics of neutrino oscillation; indeed, the detection of the high energy neutrinos through charged current reaction channels will be a smoking gun evidence of neutrino flavor conversion.

Reiterating publically available data, we discover a remarkable periodic structure in the spectra of repeating Fast Radio Burst (FRB) 121102: a set of $(95\pm 16)$ MHz-equidistant peaks with seemingly frequency-independent interpeak distance. These peaks can be explained by diffractive lensing of the FRB wave, either by a compact gravitating object of mass $10^{-4}\, M_\odot$ or by a plasma cloud with smooth profile. The periodic structure is hidden in the sea of erratic interstellar scintillations with $(3.3\pm 0.6)$ MHz decorrelation bandwidth. In addition, we reveal a new slowly evolving spectral pattern on GHz scale which may be attributed to wide-band scintillations or other wide-band interference phenomena. The spectra also include a large peak at 7.1 GHz that can be caused by propagation of the FRB signal through a plasma lens. Using the propagation effects as landmarks, we give a convincing argument that the FRB progenitor has a narrow-band spectrum of GHz width and its central frequency changes from burst to burst. With this paper we advance methods for studying periodic spectral structures and separating them from scintillations.

In this work we study the fluctuation and dissipation of a string in a deformed and backreated AdS-Schwarschild spacetime. This model is a solution of Einstein-dilaton equations (backreaction) and contains a conformal exponential factor $\exp(k/r^2)$ (deformation) in the metric. Within this Lorentz invariant holographic model we have computed the admittance (linear response), the diffusion coefficient, the two-point functions and the (regularized) mean square displacement $s^2_{reg}$. From this quantity ($s^2_{reg}$) we obtain the diffuse and ballistic regimes characteristic of the Brownian motion. From the two-point functions and the admittance, we also have checked the well know fluctuation-dissipation theorem.

We search for lepton-number- and baryon-number-violating decays $\tau^{-}\to\overline{p}e^{+}e^{-}$, $pe^{-}e^{-}$, $\overline{p}e^{+}\mu^{-}$, $\overline{p}e^{-}\mu^{+}$, $\overline{p}\mu^{+}\mu^{-}$, and $p\mu^{-}\mu^{-}$ using 921 fb$^{-1}$ of data, equivalent to $(841\pm12)\times 10^6$ $\tau^{+}\tau^{-}$ events, recorded with the Belle detector at the KEKB asymmetric-energy $e^{+}e^{-}$ collider. In the absence of a signal, $90\%$ confidence-level upper limits are set on the branching fractions of these decays in the range $(1.8$-$4.0)\times 10^{-8}$. We set the world's first limits on the first four channels and improve the existing limits by an order of magnitude for the last two channels.

We present lattice QCD calculations of higher order cumulants of electric charge distributions for small baryon chemical potentials $\mu_B$ by using up to NNNLO Taylor expansions. Ratios of these cumulants are evaluated on the pseudo-critical line, $T_{pc}(\mu_B)$, of the chiral transition and compared to corresponding measurements in heavy ion collision experiments by the STAR and PHENIX Collaborations. We demonstrate that these comparisons give strong constraints on freeze-out parameters. Furthermore, we use strangeness fluctuation observables to compute the ratio $\mu_S/\mu_B$ on the crossover line and compare it to $\mu_S/\mu_B$ at freeze-out stemming from fits to strange baryon yields measured by the STAR Collaboration.

In recent years there has been much progress on the investigation of the QCD phase diagram with lattice QCD simulations. In this review I focus on the developments in the last two years. Especially the addition of external influences or new parameter ranges yield an increasing number of interesting results. I discuss the progress for small, finite densities from both analytical continuation and Complex Langevin simulations, for heavy quark bound states (quarkonium), the dependence on the quark masses (Columbia plot) and the influence of a magnetic field. Many of these conditions are relevant for the understanding of both the QCD transition in the early universe and heavy ion collision experiments which are conducted for example at the LHC and RHIC.

We present a lattice QCD based determination of the chiral phase transition temperature in QCD with two massless (up and down) and one strange quark having its physical mass. We propose and calculate two novel estimators for the chiral transition temperature for several values of the light quark masses, corresponding to Goldstone pion masses in the range of $58~{\rm MeV}\lesssim m_\pi\lesssim 163~{\rm MeV}$. The chiral phase transition temperature is determined by extrapolating to vanishing pion mass using universal scaling relations. After thermodynamic, continuum and chiral extrapolations we find the chiral phase transition temperature $T_c^0=132^{+3}_{-6}$ MeV. We also show some preliminary calculations that use the conventional estimator for the pseudo-critical temperature and compare with the new estimators for $T_c^0$. Furthermore, we show results for the ratio of the chiral order parameter and its susceptibility and argue that this ratio can be used to differentiate between $O(N)$ and $Z_2$ universality classes in a non-parametric manner.

In this paper, we demonstrate that a phenomenon described as "topological inflation" during which inflation occurs inside the core of topological defects, has a non-topological counterpart. This appears in a simple set-up containing Einstein gravity coupled minimally to an electromagnetic field as well as a self-interacting, complex valued scalar field. The U(1) symmetry of the model is unbroken and leads to the existence of globally regular solutions, so-called boson stars, that develop a horizon for sufficiently strong gravitational coupling. We also find that the same phenomenon exists for black holes with scalar hair.

Searching for physics beyond the standard model is crucial for understanding the mystery of the universe, such as the dark matter. We utilized a single spin in a diamond as a sensor to explore the spin-dependent interactions mediated by the axion-like particles, which are well motivated by dark matter candidates. We recorded non-zero magnetic fields exerted on the single electron spin from a moving mass. The strength of the magnetic field is proportional to the velocity of the moving mass. The dependency of the magnetic field on the distance between the spin and the moving mass has been experimentally characterized. We analyzed the possible sources of this magnetic signal, and our results provide highly suggestive of the existence of a new spin-dependent interaction. Our work opens a door for investigating the physics beyond the standard model in laboratory.

Motivated in part by the pseudo-Nambu Goldstone Boson mechanism of electroweak symmetry breaking in Composite Higgs Models, in part by dark matter scenarios with strongly coupled origin, as well as by general theoretical considerations related to the large-N extrapolation, we perform lattice studies of the Yang-Mills theories with $Sp(2N)$ gauge groups. We measure the string tension and the mass spectrum of glueballs, extracted from appropriate 2-point correlation functions of operators organised as irreducible representations of the octahedral symmetry group. We perform the continuum extrapolation and study the magnitude of finite-size effects, showing that they are negligible in our calculation. We present new numerical results for $N=1$, $2$, $3$, $4$, combine them with data previously obtained for $N=2$, and extrapolate towards $N\rightarrow \infty$. We confirm explicitly the expectation that, as already known for $N=1,2$ also for $N=3,4$ a confining potential rising linearly with the distance binds a static quark to its antiquark. We compare our results to the existing literature on other gauge groups, with particular attention devoted to the large-$N$ limit. We find agreement with the known values of the mass of the $0^{++}$, $0^{++*}$ and $2^{++}$ glueballs obtained taking the large-$N$ limit in the $SU(N)$ groups. In addition, we determine for the first time the mass of some heavier glueball states at finite $N$ in $Sp(2N)$ and extrapolate the results towards $N \rightarrow +\infty$ taking the limit in the latter groups. Since the large-$N$ limit of $Sp(2N)$ is the same as in $SU(N)$, our results are relevant also for the study of QCD-like theories.

Single-field models of $\alpha$-attractor quintessential inflation provide a unified picture of the two periods of early- and late-time cosmic acceleration, where both inflation and dark energy are described by a single scalar degree of freedom rolling down a runaway potential. These theoretically well-motivated models have distinct observational predictions that are in agreement with existing cosmological data. We show that the next generation of large-scale structure surveys, even when no other cosmological data sets are considered, will strongly constrain the parameter space of these models, and test them against the standard cosmological model and more conventional non-quintessential inflation. In particular, we expect $\mathcal{O}(10^{-5}\mathrm{-}10^{-4})$ constraints on the present values of the dark energy equation of state and its time derivative, $w_0$ and $w_a$. We also forecast more than one order of magnitude tighter constraints on the spectral index of primordial curvature perturbations $n_s$ compared to the expectations for the standard model. This demonstrates the powerful synergy between the upcoming large-scale structure probes of inflation and those aiming to measure the tensor-to-scalar ratio $r$ through the observation of $B$-mode polarization of the cosmic microwave background.

In the heavy, static quark mass regime of QCD, the Polyakov loop is well known to be an order parameter of the deconfinement phase transition; however, the sensitivity of the Polyakov loop to the deconfinement of light, dynamical quarks is less clear. On the other hand, from the perspective of an effective Lagrangian written in the vicinity of the chiral transition, the Polyakov loop is an energy-like operator and should hence scale as any energy-like operator would. We show here that the Polyakov loop and heavy-quark free energy are sensitive to the chiral transition, i.e. their scaling is consistent with energy-like observables in 3-$d$ $O(N)$ universality classes.