Reproductive freeze-in of self-interacting dark matter

John March-Russell, Hannah Tillim, Stephen West

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We present a mechanism for dark matter (DM) production involving a self-interacting sector that at early times is ultra-relativistic but far-underpopulated relative to thermal equilibrium (such initial conditions often arise, e.g., from inflaton decay). Although elastic scatterings can establish kinetic equilibrium we show that for a broad variety of self-interactions full equilibrium is never established despite the DM yield significantly evolving due to 2→k (k>2) processes (the DM carries no conserved quantum number nor asymmetry). During the active phase of the process, the DM to Standard Model temperature ratio falls rapidly, with DM kinetic energy being converted to DM mass, the inverse of the recently-discussed `cannibal DM mechanism'. Potential observables and applications include self-interacting DM signatures in galaxies and clusters, dark acoustic oscillations, the alteration of free-streaming constraints, and possible easing of σ8 and Hubble tensions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number083018
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalPhysical Review D
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 19 Oct 2020

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