Structure Formation and the Global 21-cm Signal in the Presence of Coulomb-like Dark Matter-Baryon Interactions

Trey Driskell, Ethan O. Nadler, Jordan Mirocha, Andrew Benson, Kimberly K. Boddy, Timothy D. Morton, Jack Lashner, Rui An, Vera Gluscevic

Submitted on 9 September 2022


Many compelling dark matter (DM) scenarios feature Coulomb-like interactions between DM particles and baryons, in which the cross section for elastic scattering scales with relative particle velocity as v4. Previous studies have invoked such interactions to produce heat exchange between cold DM and baryons and alter the temperature evolution of hydrogen. In this study, we present a comprehensive study of the effects of Coulomb-like scattering on structure formation, in addition to the known effects on the thermal history of hydrogen. We find that interactions which significantly alter the temperature of hydrogen at Cosmic Dawn also dramatically suppress the formation of galaxies that source the Lyman-α background, further affecting the global 21-cm signal. In particular, an interaction cross section at the current observational upper limit leads to a decrease in the abundance of star-forming halos by a factor of 2 at z20, relative to cold, collisionless DM. We also find that DM that is 100% millicharged cannot reproduce the depth and the timing of the reported EDGES anomaly in any part of the parameter space. These results critically inform modeling of the global 21-cm signal and structure formation in cosmologies with DM-baryon scattering, with repercussions for future and upcoming cosmological data analysis.


Comment: 21 pages, 10 figures, submitted to PRD

Subjects: Astrophysics - Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics; High Energy Physics - Phenomenology