Dark matter amnesia in out-of-equilibrium scenarios

Research paper by Joshua Berger, Djuna Croon, Sonia El Hedri, Karsten Jedamzik, Ashley Perko, Devin G. E. Walker

Indexed on: 20 Dec '18Published on: 20 Dec '18Published in: arXiv - High Energy Physics - Phenomenology


Models in which the dark matter is produced at extremely low rates from the annihilation of Standard Model particles in the early Universe allow us to explain the current dark matter relic density while easily evading the traditional experimental constraints. In scenarios where the dark matter interacts with the Standard Model via a new physics mediator, the early Universe dynamics of the dark sector can be particularly complex, as the dark matter and the mediator could be in thermal and chemical equilibrium with each other. This equilibration takes place via number-changing processes such as double Compton scattering and bremsstrahlung, whose amplitudes are cumbersome to calculate. In this paper, we show that in large regions of the parameter space, these equilibration mechanisms do not significantly affect the final dark matter relic density. In particular, for a model with a light dark photon mediator, the relic density can be reasonably estimated by considering that the dark matter is solely produced through the annihilation of Standard Model particles. This result considerably simplifies the treatment of a large class of dark matter theories, facilitating in particular the superimposition of the relic density constraints on the current and future experimental bounds.