EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 456, Number 1, September II 2006
Page(s) 45 - 54
Section Cosmology (including clusters of galaxies)
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20054496

A&A 456, 45-54 (2006)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20054496

Cosmological neutrino entanglement and quantum pressure

D. Pfenniger and V. Muccione

Geneva Observatory, University of Geneva, 1290 Sauverny, Switzerland

(Received 8 November 2005 / Accepted 3 June 2006)

Context. The widespread view that cosmological neutrinos, even if massive, are well described since the decoupling redshift $z \approx 10^{10}$  down to the present epoch by an almost perfectly collisionless fluid of classical point particles is re-examined.
Aims. In view of the likely sub-eV rest mass of neutrinos, the main effects due to their fermionic nature are studied.
Methods. By numerical means we calculate the accurate entropy, fugacity and pressure of cosmological neutrinos in the Universe expansion. By solving the Schrödinger equation we derive how and how fast semi-degenerate identical free fermions become entangled.
Results. We find that for sub-eV neutrinos the exchange degeneracy has significantly increased during the relativistic to non-relativistic transition epoch at $z\approx 10^4{-}10^5$. At all times neutrinos become entangled in less than $10^{-6}\,$s, much faster than any plausible decoherence time. The total pressure is increased by quantum effect from 5% at high redshifts to 68% at low redshifts with respect to a collisionless classical fluid.
Conclusions. The quantum overpressure has no dynamical consequences in the homogeneous regime at high redshifts, but must be significant for neutrino clustering during the non-linear structure formation epoch at low redshifts.

Key words: cosmology: theory -- neutrions -- cosmology: large-scale structure of Universe -- cosmology: dark matter -- elementary particles

© ESO 2006