Warm dark matter (WDM) is a hypothesized form of dark matter that has properties intermediate between those of hot dark matter and cold dark matter, causing structure formation to occur bottom-up from above their free-streaming scale, and top-down below their free streaming scale. The most common WDM candidates are sterile neutrinos and gravitinos. The WIMPs (weakly interacting massive particles), when produced non-thermally could be candidates for warm dark matter. In general, however the thermally produced WIMPs are cold dark matter candidates.
keVins and GeVins
One possible WDM candidate particle with a mass of a few keV comes from introducing two new, zero charge, zero lepton number fermions to the Standard Model of Particle Physics: "keV-mass inert fermions" (keVins) and "GeV-mass inert fermions" (GeVins). keVins are overproduced if they reach thermal equilibrium in the early universe, but in some scenarios the entropy production from the decays of unstable heavier particles can suppresses their abundance to the correct value. These particles are considered "inert" because they only have suppressed interactions with the Z boson. Sterile neutrinos with masses of a few keV are possible candidates for keVins. At temperatures below the electroweak scale their only interactions with standard model particles are weak interactions due to their mixing with ordinary neutrinos. Due to the smallness of the mixing angle they are not overproduced because they freeze out before reaching thermal equilibrium. Their properties are consistent with astrophysical bounds coming from structure formation and the Pauli principle if their mass is larger than 1-8 keV.
In February 2014, different analyses have extracted from the spectrum of X-ray emissions observed by XMM-Newton, a monochromatic signal around 3.5 keV. This signal is coming from different galaxy clusters (like Perseus and Centaurus) and several scenarios of warm dark matter can justify such a line. We can cite, for example, a 3.5 keV candidate annihilating into 2 photons, or a 7 keV dark matter particle decaying into a photon and a neutrino.
- Dark matter – Hypothetical form of matter comprising most of the matter in the universe
- Lambda-CDM model – Model of big-bang cosmology
- Modified Newtonian dynamics
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