Tidal disruption of solitons in self-interacting ultralight axion dark matter

Academic Article


  • Ultralight axions (ULAs) are promising dark matter candidates that can have a distinct impact on the formation and evolution of structure on nonlinear scales relative to the cold, collisionless dark matter (CDM) paradigm. However, most studies of structure formation in ULA models do not include the effects of self-interactions, which are expected to arise generically. Here, we study how the tidal evolution of solitons is affected by ULA self-interaction strength and sign. Specifically, using the pseudospectral solver UltraDark.jl, we simulate the tidal disruption of self-interacting solitonic cores as they orbit a $10^{11}~M_{\mathrm{\odot}}$ Navarro-Frenk-White CDM host halo potential for a range of orbital parameters, assuming a fiducial ULA particle mass of $10^{-22}\mathrm{eV}$. We find that repulsive (attractive) self-interactions significantly accelerate (decelerate) soliton tidal disruption. We also identify a degeneracy between the self-interaction strength and soliton mass that determines the efficiency of tidal disruption, such that disruption timescales are affected at the $\sim 50\%$ level for variations in the dimensionless ULA self-coupling from $\lambda=-10^{-92}$ to $\lambda=10^{-92}$.
  • Authors

  • Glennon, Noah
  • Nadler, Ethan O
  • Musoke, Nathan
  • Banerjee, Arka
  • Prescod-Weinstein, Chanda
  • Wechsler, Risa H
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • June 30, 2022
  • Published In

  • Physical Review D  Journal
  • Keywords

  • astro-ph.CO
  • hep-ph
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)


  • 105
  • Issue

  • 12