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MIT 8 942 - Problem Set 4

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Massachusetts Institute of Technology Department of Physics Physics 8.942 Fall 2001 Problem Set #4 Due in class Tuesday, October 16, 2001. 1. Temperature vs. time Assume that we live in a Robertson-Walker universe with matter, radiation and curva-ture. The present mass density is ρm = 3Ω0H02/(8πG), where H0 = 100 h km s −1 Mpc −1 and Ω0(1+ρr,0/ρm,0) ≤ 1 (i.e., k ≤ 0). The present radiation temperature is T0 = 2.725 K. Assume that only photons, with present temperature T0 = 2.725 K contribute to the ra-diation; ignore neutrinos in this problem. a) At what redshift did the radiation energy density equal the matter density? How old was the universe then and what was the radiation temperature? Your answers should scale appropriately with Ωm and h. b) How old was the universe when the radiation temperature was 1 MeV? 1 GeV? 1014 GeV? (Hint: you need g∗, the effective number of relativistic spin states contributing to the energy density. At 1 GeV g∗ = 61.75 and at 1014 GeV, g∗ = 106.75 without supersymmetry or double this with SUSY.) 2. Massless and massive neutrinos Besides photons, there are 3 flavors of neutrinos, each with 2 spin states (neglecting right-handed neutrinos) which may be relativistic today. Assume that the numbers of neutrinos and antineutrinos of each flavor are equal. a) Assuming that all neutrinos are massless and that the photon temperature is increased by a factor (11/4)1/3 as a result of e+e− annihilation, derive zeq, the redshift at which (nonrelativistic) matter and radiation (relativistic particles, including photons and neutrinos), have equal energy densities (Peacock eq. 9.3.) What is the ratio of energy densities in neutrinos and photons? b) Now suppose that one neutrino flavor (e.g., ντ and ¯ντ ) has nonzero rest mass. Derive the neutrino mass that is needed to close the universe, assuming that the contribution made by other massive particles (nucleons and cold dark matter) is small (Peacock eq. 9.31). Note that the shape of the phase space distribution is invariant after neutrino decoupling. (This calculation was first made by Cowsik and McClelland 1972, Phys. Rev. Lett., 29, 669.) 13. Equilibrium recombination In terms of the conserved baryon/photon ratio η (eq. 9.83 of Peacock), find the CMB temperature and redshift at which recombination ended, as defined by the condition that the photon mean-free scattering rate equals the expansion rate, neσTc = H. Use the Saha equation, eq. 9.45 of Peacock, assuming the parameters of the ΛCDM model of Problem Sets 2 and 3 plus the present CMB temperature T0 = 2.725 K and the baryon abundance ΩB h2 = 0.02. (See Burles et al. 2001, ApJ 552, L1 for conversion of ΩB h2 to η.) Compare your resulting electron fraction and redshift with the graphs presented in Seager et al., ApJS 128, 407. Is your recombination redshift too high or too low compared with an exact calculation? Why? 4. Nonstandard nucleosynthesis Under which of the following suppositions would primordial nucleosynthesis have pro-duced less 4He than the standard model? Less 2H (deuterium)? a) Suppose that the baryond density in the universe today is larger than we think. b) Suppose that there is a fourth neutrino flavor with mass much less than 1 MeV. (It must be “sterile,” e.g. right-handed, not to have been detected in Z0 decay at LEP.) c) Suppose that there are many more neutrinos than antineutrinos or photons in the cosmic background today. d) Suppose that there are many more antineutrinos than neutrinos or photons in the cosmic background today. e) Suppose that there is a significant contribution of gravitational radiation to the total energy density of the universe, comparable in magnitude with the energy density of the microwave background radiation.

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