Diluted equilibrium sterile neutrino dark matter
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevD.92.103509
We present a model where sterile neutrinos with rest masses in the range ∼keV to ∼MeV can be the dark matter and be consistent with all laboratory, cosmological, and large-scale structure, as well as x-ray constraints. These sterile neutrinos are assumed to freeze out of thermal and chemical equilibrium with matter and radiation in the very early Universe, prior to an epoch of prodigious entropy generation ("dilution") from out-of-equilibrium decay of heavy particles. In this work, we consider heavy, entropy-producing particles in the ∼TeV to ∼EeV rest-mass range, possibly associated with new physics at high-energy scales. The process of dilution can give the sterile neutrinos the appropriate relic densities, but it also alters their energy spectra so that they could act like cold dark matter, despite relatively low rest masses as compared to conventional dark matter candidates. Moreover, since the model does not rely on active-sterile mixing for producing the relic density, the mixing angles can be small enough to evade current x-ray or lifetime constraints. Nevertheless, we discuss how future x-ray observations, future lepton number constraints, and future observations and sophisticated simulations of large-scale structure could, in conjunction, provide evidence for this model and/or constrain and probe its parameters.