Angular momentum transfer in dark matter halos: erasing the cusp

Author(s)

Tonini, C.; Lapi, A.; Salucci, P.

Abstract

We propose that angular momentum transfer from the baryons to the dark matter (DM) during the early stages of galaxy formation can flatten the halo inner density profile and modify the halo dynamics. We compute the phase-space distribution function of DM halos that corresponds to the density and anisotropy profiles obtained from N-body simulations in the concordance cosmology. We then describe an injection of angular momentum into the halo by modifying the distribution function and show that the system evolves into a new equilibrium configuration; the latter features a constant central density and a tangentially dominated anisotropy profile in the inner regions, while the structure is nearly unchanged beyond 10% of the virial radius. Then we propose a toy model to account for such a halo evolution, based on the angular momentum exchange due to dynamical friction; at the epoch of galaxy formation this is efficiently exerted by the DM onto the gas clouds spiralling down the potential well. The comparison between the angular momentum profile gained by the halo through dynamical friction and that provided by the perturbed distribution function reveals a surprising similarity, hinting at the reliability of the process.

Publication year

2006

Publication type

Journal article

Source

Astrophysical Journal Letters, Vol. 649 (Oct 2006), pp. 591-598

ISSN

2041-8205

Publisher

Institute of Physics Publishing

Copyright

Copyright © 2006 The American Astronomical Society. The American Astronomical Society either the accepted manuscript or the published version of the article. However you can find an earlier version of the full text here: http://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0510577

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