Observations of the redshifted 21 cm line from neutral hydrogen will open a new window on the early Universe. By influencing the thermal and ionization history of the intergalactic medium (IGM), annihilating dark matter (DM) can leave a detectable imprint in the 21 cm signal. Building on the publicly available 21cmFAST code, we compute the 21 cm signal for a 10 GeV WIMP DM candidate. The most pronounced role of DM annihilations is in heating the IGM earlier and more uniformly than astrophysical sources of X-rays. This leaves several unambiguous, qualitative signatures in the redshift evolution of the large-scale (k simeq 0.1 Mpc-1) 21 cm power amplitude: (i) the local maximum (peak) associated with IGM heating can be lower than the other maxima; (ii) the heating peak can occur while the IGM is in emission against the cosmic microwave background (CMB); (iii) there can be a dramatic drop in power (a global minimum) corresponding to the epoch when the IGM temperature is comparable to the CMB temperature. These signatures are robust to astrophysical uncertainties, and will be easily detectable with second generation interferometers. We also briefly show that decaying warm dark matter has a negligible role in heating the IGM.
Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics
- Pub Date:
- November 2014
- Astrophysics - High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena;
- Astrophysics - Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics
- 17 pages, 5 figures. Published in JCAP