Unified dark matter: Constraints from galaxies and clusters

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© 2015 The Authors. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. Unified dark matter models are appealing in that they describe the dark sector in terms of a single component. They however face problems when attempting to account for structure formation: in the linear regime, density fluctuations can become Jeans stable and oscillate rather than collapse, though it is possible that this difficulty may be circumvented by invoking nonlinear clustering. Here we examine the behaviour in the fully non-linear regime, of collapsed objects that should mimic standard dark matter haloes. It is shown that the pressure gradient associated with the unified dark matter fluid should be significant in the outer parts of galaxies and clusters, and its effects observable. In this case, no flat or falling rotation curve is possible for any (barotropic) equation of state with associated sound speed decreasing with density (a necessary condition if the fluid is to behave as pressureless matter at high density). The associated density profile is therefore also incompatible with that inferred in the outer part of clusters. For the prototypical case of the generalized Chaplygin gas, it is shown that this limits the values of the equation of state index a that are compatible with observations to α ≲ 0.0001 or α ≳ 2. This is in line from what is deduced from linear analysis. More generally, from the expected properties of dark matter haloes, constraints on the sound speed are derived. For the particular case of the generalized Chaplygin gas, this further constrains the index to α ≲ 10-9 or α ≳ 6.7. For a unified dark matter fluid to mimic dark halo properties, therefore, it needs to have an equation of state such that the pressure gradients are either minimal or which decrease fast enough so as to be negligible at densities characteristic of the outer parts of haloes.

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