Bounds on ultralight hidden-photon dark matter from observation of the 21 cm signal at cosmic dawn

Ely D. Kovetz, Ilias Cholis, David E. Kaplan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ultralight hidden-photon dark matter produces an oscillating electric field in the early Universe plasma, which in turn induces an electric current in its ionized component whose dissipation results in heat transfer from the dark matter to the plasma. This will affect the global 21 cm signal from the dark ages and cosmic dawn. In this work we focus on the latter, in light of the reported detection by the EDGES collaboration of an absorption signal at frequencies corresponding to redshift z∼17. By measuring the 21 cm global signal, a limit can be placed on the amount of gas heating, and thus the kinetic mixing strength between the hidden and ordinary photons can be constrained. If the recent measurements are evidence of - and corroborated as - 21 cm absorption in standard cosmology, one can derive a constraint on the amount of heating due to hidden-photon dark matter based on the requirement that the 21 cm brightness temperature does not exceed a given value. To demonstrate the promise of this method, without loss of generality, we calculate the constraints in the limit of infinite Lyman-α coupling, for fiducial measurements of T21=0 mK or T21=-100 mK. The inferred bounds on in the mass range 10-23 eV-mχ10-13 eV would be the strongest yet.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number123511
JournalPhysical review D
Issue number12
StatePublished - 12 Jun 2019
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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