The Effects of Dark Matter Annihilation on Cosmic Reionization
We revisit the possibility of constraining the properties of dark matter (DM) by studying the epoch of cosmic reionization. Previous studies have shown that DM annihilation was unlikely to have provided a large fraction of the photons that ionized the universe, but instead played a subdominant role relative to stars and quasars. The DM, however, begins to efficiently annihilate with the formation of primordial microhalos at $$z\sim100-200$$, much earlier than the formation of the first stars. Therefore, if DM annihilation ionized the universe at even the percent level over the interval $$z \sim 20-100$$, it can leave a significant imprint on the global optical depth, $$\tau$$. Moreover, we show that cosmic microwave background (CMB) polarization data and future 21 cm measurements will enable us to more directly probe the DM contribution to the optical depth. In order to compute the annihilation rate throughout the epoch of reionization, we adopt the latest results from structure formation studies and explore the impact of various free parameters on our results. We show that future measurements could make it possible to place constraints on the dark matter's annihilation cross section that are at a level comparable to those obtained from the observations of dwarf galaxies, cosmic ray measurements, and studies of recombination.
- Publication Date:
- OSTI Identifier:
- Report Number(s):
- arXiv:1512.00526; FERMILAB-PUB-15-510-A
- DOE Contract Number:
- Resource Type:
- Journal Article
- Resource Relation:
- Journal Name: Astrophys.J.
- Research Org:
- Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (FNAL), Batavia, IL (United States)
- Sponsoring Org:
- USDOE Office of Science (SC), High Energy Physics (HEP) (SC-25)
- Country of Publication:
- United States
- 79 ASTRONOMY AND ASTROPHYSICS
Enter terms in the toolbar above to search the full text of this document for pages containing specific keywords.