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Cosmological lepton asymmetry, primordial nucleosynthesis and sterile neutrinos

  • Author(s): Abazajian, Kevork
  • Bell, Nicole F
  • Fuller, George M
  • Wong, Yvonne YY
  • et al.
Abstract

We study post weak decoupling coherent active-sterile and active-active matter-enhanced neutrino flavor transformation in the early Universe. We show that flavor conversion efficiency at Mikheyev-Smirnov-Wolfenstein resonances is likely to be high (adiabatic evolution) for relevant neutrino parameters and energies. However, we point out that these resonances cannot sweep smoothly and continuously with the expansion of the Universe. We show how neutrino flavor conversion in this way can leave both the active and sterile neutrinos with nonthermal energy spectra, and how, in turn, these distorted energy spectra can affect the neutron-to-proton ratio, primordial nucleosynthesis, and cosmological mass/closure constraints on sterile neutrinos. We demonstrate that the existence of a light sterile neutrino which mixes with active neutrinos can change fundamentally the relationship between the cosmological lepton numbers and the primordial nucleosynthesis He4 yield. © 2005 The American Physical Society.

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