Clues to the nature of dark matter from first galaxies

Boyan K. Stoychev, Keri L. Dixon, Andrea V. Macciò, Marvin Blank, Aaron A. Dutton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We use 38 high-resolution simulations of galaxy formation between redshift 10 and 5 to study the impact of a 3 keV warm dark matter (WDM) candidate on the high-redshift Universe. We focus our attention on the stellar mass function and the global star formation rate and consider the consequences for reionization, namely the neutral hydrogen fraction evolution and the electron scattering optical depth. We find that three different effects contribute to differentiate warm and cold dark matter (CDM) predictions: WDM suppresses the number of haloes with mass less than few 109 M; at a fixed halo mass, WDM produces fewer stars than CDM, and finally at halo masses below 109 M, WDM has a larger fraction of dark haloes than CDM post-reionization. These three effects combine to produce a lower stellar mass function in WDM for galaxies with stellar masses at and below 107 M. For z > 7, the global star formation density is lower by a factor of two in the WDM scenario, and for a fixed escape fraction, the fraction of neutral hydrogen is higher by 0.3 at z ∼ 6. This latter quantity can be partially reconciled with CDM and observations only by increasing the escape fraction from 23 per cent to 34 per cent. Overall, our study shows that galaxy formation simulations at high redshift are a key tool to differentiate between dark matter candidates given a model for baryonic physics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)487-496
Number of pages10
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 11 2019


  • Cosmology: theory
  • Dark matter
  • Galaxies: evolution
  • Galaxies: formation
  • Methods: numerical

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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