The goal of this project is to understand the astrophysical consequences of adding self-interactions to models of light dark matter. The addition of interactions is motivated by small-scale-structure observations such as galactic halos of dwarf spheroidal galaxies. To achieve this goal, we will compute the rate of self-interaction of the dark matter particles at a cosmological scale, which sets their relic abundance, and the rate of interaction with the visible particles, which provides the connection with astrophysical phenomena. We will use current astrophysical data to constrain the parameter space of this class of models. That will be the main outcome of the project. At the end of the project, the student will be familiar with the thermal history of the universe, the basic steps involved in the calculation of dark matter density and the basics of galactic astrophysics.
The student should know some basics of differential equations and should have taken Physics 334 (Intro to Quantum Mechanics and Special Relativity) or an equivalent course. Students taking this class during Spring 2018 are allowed, and encouraged, to apply.