Warm dark matter as a solution to the small scale crisis: New constraints from high redshift Lyman-α forest data
We present updated constraints on the free-streaming of warm dark matter (WDM) particles derived from an analysis of the Lya flux power spectrum measured from high-resolution spectra of 25 z > 4 quasars obtained with the Keck High Resolution Echelle Spectrometer (HIRES) and the Magellan Inamori Kyocera Echelle (MIKE) spectrograph. We utilize a new suite of high-resolution hydrodynamical simulations that explore WDM masses of 1, 2 and 4 keV (assuming the WDM consists of thermal relics), along with different physically motivated thermal histories. We carefully address different sources of systematic error that may affect our final results and perform an analysis of the Lya flux power with conservative error estimates. By using a method that samples the multi-dimensional astrophysical and cosmological parameter space, we obtain a lower limit mwdm > 3.3 keV (2sigma) for warm dark matter particles in the form of early decoupled thermal relics. Adding the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) Lya flux power spectrum does not improve this limit. Thermal relics of masses 1 keV, 2 keV and 2.5 keV are disfavoured by the data at about the 9sigma, 4sigma and 3sigma C.L., respectively. Our analysis disfavours WDM models where there is a suppression in the linear matter power spectrum at (non-linear) scales corresponding to k=10h/Mpc which deviates more than 10% from a LCDM model. Given this limit, the corresponding "free-streaming mass" below which the mass function may be suppressed is 2x10^8 Msun/h. There is thus very little room for a contribution of the free-streaming of WDM to the solution of what has been termed the small scale crisis of cold dark matter.
Science and Technology Facilities Council (ST/J000647/1)
Science and Technology Facilities Council (ST/J005673/1)
Science and Technology Facilities Council (ST/K00333X/1)
European Research Council (320596)