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Linear cosmological constraints on 2-body decaying dark matter scenarios and the $S_8$ tension

  • Abellán, Guillermo Franco
  • Murgia, Riccardo
  • Poulin, Vivian
Published Article
Publication Date
Jan 03, 2022
Submission Date
Feb 24, 2021
DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevD.104.123533
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The '$S_8$ tension' is a longstanding discrepancy between the cosmic microwave background (CMB) and weak gravitational lensing determination of the amplitude of matter fluctuations, parametrized as $S_8\equiv\sigma_8(\Omega_m/0.3)^{0.5}$, where $\sigma_8$ is the root mean square of matter fluctuations on a 8 $h^{-1}$Mpc scale, and $\Omega_m$ is the total matter abundance. It was recently shown that dark matter (DM) decaying into a massless (dark radiation) and a massive (warm DM) species, with a lifetime $\Gamma^{-1} \simeq 55~(\varepsilon/0.007)^{1.4}$ Gyrs -- where $\varepsilon$ represent the mass-energy fraction transferred to the massless component -- can ease the tension. Thanks to a fast and accurate fluid approximation scheme for the warm species, we perform a comprehensive study of this 2-body decaying DM scenario, discussing in detail its dynamics and its impact on the CMB and linear matter power spectra. We then investigate the implications for the '$S_8$ tension' against a number of changes in the analysis: different $S_8$ priors, marginalization over the lensing information in Planck data, trading Planck high$-\ell$ polarization data for those from the SPTpol and ACTPol surveys, and the inclusion of the recent results from the Xenon1T collaboration. We conclude that the preference for decaying DM, apparent only when the $S_8$ value determined from weak lensing data is added to the analysis, does not sensibly degrade the fit to any of the cosmological data-sets considered, and that the model could potentially explain the anomalous electron recoil excess reported by the Xenon1T collaboration. Furthermore, we explictly show that while current CMB data alone are not sensitive enough to distinguish between standard CDM and decaying DM, next-generation CMB observations (CMB-S4) can unambiguously detect its signature.

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