Effects of dark matter decay and annihilation on the high-redshift 21 cm background

  • Furlanetto S
  • Oh S
  • Pierpaoli E
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The radiation background produced by the 21 cm spin-flip transition of neutral hydrogen at high redshifts can be a pristine probe of fundamental physics and cosmology. At z~30-300, the intergalactic medium (IGM) is visible in 21 cm absorption against the cosmic microwave background (CMB), with a strength that depends on the thermal (and ionization) history of the IGM. Here we examine the constraints this background can place on dark matter decay and annihilation, which could heat and ionize the IGM through the production of high-energy particles. Using a simple model for dark matter decay, we show that, if the decay energy is immediately injected into the IGM, the 21 cm background can detect energy injection rates >10^{-24} eV cm^{-3} sec^{-1}. If all the dark matter is subject to decay, this allows us to constrain dark matter lifetimes

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  • Steven R. Furlanetto

  • S. Peng Oh

  • Elena Pierpaoli

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