A Limit on the Warm Dark Matter Particle Mass from the Redshifted 21 cm Absorption Line

Mohammadtaher Safarzadeh, Evan Scannapieco, Arif Babul

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


The recent Experiment to Detect the Global Epoch of Reionization Signature (EDGES) collaboration detection of an absorption signal at a central frequency of ν = 78 ± 1 MHz points to the presence of a significant Lyα background by a redshift of z = 18. The timing of this signal constrains the dark matter particle mass (m χ) in the warm dark matter (WDM) cosmological model. WDM delays the formation of small-scale structures, and therefore a stringent lower limit can be placed on m χ based on the presence of a sufficiently strong Lyα background due to star formation at z = 18. Our results show that coupling the spin temperature to the gas through Lyα pumping requires a minimum mass of m χ > 3 keV if atomic cooling halos dominate the star formation rate at z = 18, and m χ > 2 keV if cooling halos also form stars efficiently at this redshift. These limits match or exceed the most stringent limits cited to date in the literature, even in the face of the many uncertainties regarding star formation at high redshift.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL18
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018


  • dark ages
  • first stars - dark matter - diffuse radiation
  • reionization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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