Dark energy from mass varying neutrinos

Rob Fardon, Ann E. Nelson, Neal Weiner

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    We show that mass varying neutrinos (MaVaNs) can behave as a negative pressure fluid which could be the origin of the cosmic acceleration. We derive a model independent relation between the neutrino mass and the equation of state parameter of the neutrino dark energy, which is applicable for general theories of mass varying particles. The neutrino mass depends on the local neutrino density and the observed neutrino mass can exceed the cosmological bound on a constant neutrino mass. We discuss microscopic realizations of the MaVaN acceleration scenario, which involve a sterile neutrino. We consider naturalness constraints for mass varying particles, and find that both eV cutoffs and eV mass particles are needed to avoid fine-tuning. In microscopic realizations of this scenario with a sterile neutrino, these considerations give the sterile neutrino a maximum mass today of order an eV, which could be detectable at MiniBooNE. Because the sterile neutrino was much heavier at earlier times, constraints from big bang nucleosynthesis on additional states are not problematic. We consider regions of high neutrino density and find that the most likely place today to find neutrino masses which are significantly different from the neutrino masses in our solar system is in a supernova. The possibility of different neutrino mass in different regions of the galaxy and the local group could be significant for Z-burst models of ultra-high energy cosmic rays. We also consider the cosmology of and the constraints on the 'acceleron', the scalar field which is responsible for the varying neutrino mass, and briefly discuss neutrino density dependent variations in other constants, such as the fine structure constant.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)75-100
    Number of pages26
    JournalJournal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics
    Issue number10
    StatePublished - Oct 2004


    • Cosmological neutrinos
    • Dark energy theory
    • Neutrino properties
    • Supernova neutrinos

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Astronomy and Astrophysics


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