Volume 543, July 2012
|Number of page(s)||8|
|Section||Cosmology (including clusters of galaxies)|
|Published online||11 July 2012|
Mixing of blackbodies: entropy production and dissipation of sound waves in the early Universe
Max Planck Institut für Astrophysik,
2 Space Research Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, Profsoyuznaya 84/32, 117997 Moscow, Russia
3 Institute for Advanced Study, Einstein Drive, Princeton, New Jersey 08540, USA
4 Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics, 60 St George Street, Toronto, ON M5S 3H8, Canada
Accepted: 8 June 2012
Mixing of blackbodies with different temperatures creates a spectral distortion which, at lowest order, is a y-type distortion, indistinguishable from the thermal y-type distortion produced by the scattering of cosmic microwave background (CMB) photons by hot electrons residing in clusters of galaxies. This process occurs in the radiation-pressure dominated early Universe, when the primordial perturbations excite standing sound waves on entering the sound horizon. Photons from different phases of the sound waves, having different temperatures, diffuse through the electron-baryon plasma and mix together. This diffusion, with the length defined by Thomson scattering, dissipates sound waves and creates spectral distortions in the CMB. Of the total dissipated energy, 2/3 raises the average temperature of the blackbody part of spectrum, while 1/3 creates a distortion of y-type. It is well known that at redshifts 105 ≲ z ≲ 2 × 106, comptonization rapidly transforms y-distortions into a Bose-Einstein spectrum. The chemical potential of the Bose-Einstein spectrum is again 1/3 the value we would get if all the dissipated energy was injected into a blackbody spectrum but no extra photons were added. We study the mixing of blackbody spectra, emphasizing the thermodynamic point of view, and identifying spectral distortions with entropy creation. This allows us to obtain the main results connected with the dissipation of sound waves in the early Universe in a very simple way. We also show that mixing of blackbodies in general, and dissipation of sound waves in particular, leads to creation of entropy.
Key words: cosmic background radiation / cosmology: theory / early Universe
© ESO, 2012
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