Sterile neutrinos produced through oscillations are a well motivated dark matter candidate, but recent constraints from observations have ruled out most of the parameter space. We analyze the impact of new interactions on the evolution of keV sterile neutrino dark matter in the early Universe. Based on general considerations we find a mechanism which thermalizes the sterile neutrinos after an initial production by oscillations. The thermalization of sterile neutrinos is accompanied by dark entropy production which increases the yield of dark matter and leads to a lower characteristic momentum. This resolves the growing tensions with structure formation and x-ray observations and even revives simple nonresonant production as a viable way to produce sterile neutrino dark matter. We investigate the parameters required for the realization of the thermalization mechanism in a representative model and find that a simple estimate based on energy and entropy conservation describes the mechanism well.
Physical Review Letters
- Pub Date:
- December 2017
- High Energy Physics - Phenomenology;
- Astrophysics - Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics
- 6 pages, 2 figures, matches published version