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Paper   IPM / Astronomy / 16291
School of Astronomy
  Title:   Effective theories for a nonrelativistic field in an expanding universe: Induced self-interaction, pressure, sound speed, and viscosity
1.  B. Salehian
2.  M H. Namjoo
3.  D. I. Kaiser
  Status:   Published
  Journal: JHEP
  No.:  59
  Year:  2020
  Supported by:            ipm IPM
A massive, nonrelativistic scalar field in an expanding spacetime is usually approximated by a pressureless perfect fluid, which leads to the standard conclusion that such a field can play the role of cold dark matter. In this paper, we systematically study these approximations, incorporating subleading corrections. We provide two equivalent effective descriptions of the system, each of which offers its own advantages and insights: (i) A nonrelativistic effective field theory (EFT) with which we show that the relativistic corrections induce an effective self-interaction for the nonrelativistic field. As a byproduct, our EFT also allows one to construct the exact solution, including oscillatory behavior, which is often difficult to achieve from the exact equations. (ii) An effective (imperfect) fluid description, with which we demonstrate that, for a perturbed Friedmann-Lemaître- Robertson-Walker (FLRW) universe: (a) The pressure is small but nonzero (and positive), even for a free theory with no tree-level self-interactions. (b) The sound speed of small fluctuations is also nonzero (and positive), reproducing already known leading-order results, correcting a subdominant term, and identifying a new contribution that had been omitted in previous analyses. (c) The fluctuations experience a negative effective bulk viscosity. The positive sound speed and the negative bulk viscosity act in favor of and against the growth of overdensities, respectively. The net effect may be considered a smoking gun for ultra-light dark matter

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