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Keywords:

  • Dark energy;
  • dark matter;
  • large scale structure of the Universe.

Abstract

A wide range of astrophysical and cosmological observations support the evidence that the energy density of the Universe is presently largely dominated by particles and fields that do not belong to the standard model of particle physics. Such cosmic dark sector appears to be made of two distinct entities capable to account for the growth of large-scale structures and for the observed acceleration of the expansion rate of the Universe, respectively dubbed dark matter and dark energy. Nevertheless, the fundamental nature of these two dark components has so far remained mysterious. In the currently accepted scenario dark matter is associated to a single new massive and weakly interacting particle beyond the standard model, while dark energy is assumed to be a simple cosmological constant. However, present cosmological constraints and the absence of a direct detection and identification of any dark matter particle candidate leave room to the possibility that the dark sector of the Universe be actually more complex than it is normally assumed. In particular, more than one new fundamental particle could be responsible for the observed dark matter density in the Universe, and possible new interactions between dark energy and dark matter might characterize the dark sector. In the present work, the possibility that two dark matter particles may exist in nature is investigated. These different species are assumed to have identical physical properties except for the sign of their coupling constant to dark energy. Extending previous works on similar scenarios, the evolution of the background cosmology as well as the growth of linear density perturbations for a wide range of parameters of such multiple dark matter model is studied. Interestingly, the results show how the simple assumption that dark matter particles carry a “charge” with respect to their interaction with the dark energy field allows for new long-range scalar forces of gravitational strength in the dark sector without conflicting with present observations both at the background and linear levels. The presented scenario does not introduce new parameters with respect to the case of a single dark matter species for which such strong dark interactions have been already ruled out. Therefore, the present investigation suggests that only a detailed study of nonlinear structure formation processes might possibly provide effective constraints on new scalar interactions of gravitational strength in the dark sector.