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Reionisation in sterile neutrino cosmologies.

Bose, S. and Frenk, C. S. and Hou, J. and Lacey, C. G. and Lovell, M. R. (2016) 'Reionisation in sterile neutrino cosmologies.', Monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society., 463 (4). pp. 3848-3859.


We investigate the process of reionisation in a model in which the dark matter is a warm elementary particle such as a sterile neutrino. We focus on models that are consistent with the dark matter decay interpretation of the recently detected line at 3.5 keV in the X-ray spectra of galaxies and clusters. In warm dark matter models the primordial spectrum of density perturbations has a cut-off on the scale of dwarf galaxies. Structure formation therefore begins later than in the standard cold dark matter (CDM) model and very few objects form below the cut-off mass scale. To calculate the number of ionising photons, we use the Durham semi-analytic model of galaxy formation, GALFORM. We find that even the most extreme 7 keV sterile neutrino we consider is able to reionise the Universe early enough to be compatible with the bounds on the epoch of reionisation from Planck. This, perhaps surprising, result arises from the rapid build-up of high redshift galaxies in the sterile neutrino models which is also reflected in a faster evolution of their far-UV luminosity function between 10 > z > 7 than in CDM. The dominant sources of ionising photons are systematically more massive in the sterile neutrino models than in CDM. As a consistency check on the models, we calculate the present-day luminosity function of satellites of Milky Way-like galaxies. When the satellites recently discovered in the DES survey are taken into account, strong constraints are placed on viable sterile neutrino models.

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Publisher statement:This article has been published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society ©: 2016 The Authors Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.
Date accepted:08 September 2016
Date deposited:06 October 2016
Date of first online publication:12 September 2016
Date first made open access:No date available

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