Volume 438, Number 2, August I 2005
|Page(s)||419 - 442|
|Section||Cosmology (including clusters of galaxies)|
|Published online||08 July 2005|
Constraints on Dark Matter interactions from structure formation: damping lengths
Department of Physics, Theory division, CERN, 1211 Geneva 23, Switzerland
2 LAPTH, 9 chemin de Bellevue, BP 110, 74941 Annecy-Le-Vieux Cedex, France e-mail: Celine.Boehm@cern.ch
3 SPhT, CEA Saclay, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France e-mail: Richard.Schaeffer@cea.fr
Accepted: 21 February 2005
Weakly Interacting Massive Particles are often said to be the best Dark Matter candidates. Studies have shown that large Dark Matter-photon or Dark Matter-baryon interactions could be allowed by cosmology. Here we address the question of the role of the Dark Matter interactions in more detail to determine at which extent Dark Matter has to be necessarily weakly interacting. To this purpose, we compute the collisional damping (and free-streaming) scales of generic interacting Dark Matter candidates and investigate the effects on structure formation. Our calculations are valid provided the Dark Matter particles have experienced a phase of statistical equilibrium at some stage during their evolution. By comparing these damping lengths to the scale of the smallest primordial structures known to exist in the Universe, we obtain necessary conditions that any candidate must satisfy. These conditions are expressed in terms of the Dark Matter particles' mass and either the total Dark Matter interaction rate or the interaction rate of Dark Matter with a specific species. The case of Dark Matter interacting with neutrinos or photons is considered in full detail. Our results are valid even for energy dependent cross-sections and for any possible initial fluctuations spectrum. We point out the existence of new Dark Matter scenarios and exhibit new damping regimes. For example, an interacting candidate may bear a similar damping than that of collisionless Warm Dark Matter particles. The main difference is due to the Dark Matter coupling to interacting (or even freely-propagating) species. Our approach yields a general classification of Dark Matter candidates which extends the definitions of the usual Cold, Warm and Hot Dark Matter scenarios when interactions, weak or strong, are considered.
Key words: elementary particles / dark matter / large-scale structure of Universe
© ESO, 2005
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