nLab fuzzy dark matter




physics, mathematical physics, philosophy of physics

Surveys, textbooks and lecture notes

theory (physics), model (physics)

experiment, measurement, computable physics

Fields and quanta

fields and particles in particle physics

and in the standard model of particle physics:

force field gauge bosons

scalar bosons

matter field fermions (spinors, Dirac fields)

flavors of fundamental fermions in the
standard model of particle physics:
generation of fermions1st generation2nd generation3d generation
quarks (qq)
up-typeup quark (uu)charm quark (cc)top quark (tt)
down-typedown quark (dd)strange quark (ss)bottom quark (bb)
neutralelectron neutrinomuon neutrinotau neutrino
bound states:
mesonslight mesons:
pion (udu d)
ρ-meson (udu d)
ω-meson (udu d)
ϕ-meson (ss¯s \bar s),
kaon, K*-meson (usu s, dsd s)
eta-meson (uu+dd+ssu u + d d + s s)

charmed heavy mesons:
D-meson (uc u c, dcd c, scs c)
J/ψ-meson (cc¯c \bar c)
bottom heavy mesons:
B-meson (qbq b)
ϒ-meson (bb¯b \bar b)
proton (uud)(u u d)
neutron (udd)(u d d)

(also: antiparticles)

effective particles

hadrons (bound states of the above quarks)


in grand unified theory

minimally extended supersymmetric standard model




dark matter candidates


auxiliary fields



A model for dark matter made up of massive but extremely light particles, whose de Broglie wavelength is at the scale of galaxies.

The idea is that on scales above that of galaxies, the predictions of fuzzy dark matter agree with the standard cold dark matter models that work exceptionally well on cosmological scales, while on scales of the size of galaxies the quantum properties of these light particles become relevant and change their effect just so as to fix the problems (see also MOND) that standard cold dark matter models have on these scales.

A natural candidate for such ultra-light particles are axions.

This kind of model was brought up independently by several groups of authors (see Lee 17 for historical survey) with early precursors going back as far as (Baldeschi-Gelmini-Ruffini 83), and accordingly goes by a number of different names, including the following:

and more.

The suggestion that fuzzy dark matter induces the observed almost-flat galactic rotation curves (“MOND”) seems to go back to (Sin 92). Further pointers are in (Lee 17, p. 3):

There are many works explaining the rotation curves of dwarf [17, 23, 69], and large galaxies [29, 43, 70–78] in this model.

More recently, detection of the 21cm hydrogen line from cosmic dawn indicates that star formation set in earlier than compatible with fuzzy dark matter models (Nebrin 17, Nebrin-Ghara-Mellema 18). This would rule out substantial contributions of fuzzy dark matter.



Early precursors of the idea include

  • M. R. Baldeschi, G. B. Gelmini, and R. Ruffini, Physics Letters B 122, 221 (1983).

The role of the Bose-Einstein condensate of axions on galactic scales was considered in

The proposal in the guise of “fuzzy dark matter” is originally due to

  • Wayne Hu, Rennan Barkana, Andrei Gruzinov, Cold and Fuzzy Dark Matter, Phys.Rev.Lett. 85 (2000) 1158-1161 (arXiv:astro-ph/0003365)

A detailed discussion is in

Review includes

Computer simulation of structure formation with fuzzy dark matter:

Some thoughts on the quantum measurement problem for fuzzy DM particles with huge macroscopic Compton wavelengths? is in

Superfluid dark matter

Discussion of superfluid dark matter could be found in:

MOND Phenomenology

Discussion of how superfluid aspects of axionic fuzzy dark matter reproduce MOND phenomenology is in

Comparison and tension with experiment

Comparison to experiment (observation):

  • Bohua Li, Tanja Rindler-Daller, and Paul R. Shapiro, Cosmological constraints on Bose-Einstein-condensed scalar field dark matter, Phys. Rev. D 89, 083536, 2014 (arXiv:1310.6061)

  • Hsi-Yu Schive, Tzihong Chiueh, Tom Broadhurst, Cosmic structure as the quantum interference of a coherent dark wave, Nature Physics 10, 496–499 (2014) (doi:10.1038/nphys2996)

  • Nilanjan Banik, Adam J. Christopherson, Pierre Sikivie, Elisa Maria Todarello, New astrophysical bounds on ultralight axionlike particles, Phys. Rev. D 95, 043542 (2017) (arXiv:1701.04573)

Strong constraints on fuzzy dark matter from observation of the cosmic 21cm hydrogen line are claimed and discussed in

  • Adam Lidz, Lam Hui, The Implications of a Pre-reionization 21 cm Absorption Signal for Fuzzy Dark Matter, Phys. Rev. D 98, 023011 (2018) (arXiv:1805.01253)

  • Olof Nebrin, Cosmic Dawn in a Fuzzy Universe: Constraining the nature of Dark Matterwith 21 cm Cosmology, Stockholm 2017 (diva2:1195402, urn:nbn:se:su:diva-154861)

  • Olof Nebrin, Raghunath Ghara, Garrelt Mellema, Fuzzy Dark Matter at Cosmic Dawn: New 21-cm Constraints (arXiv:1812.09760, reddit)

Claim that the galaxy core-cusp problem is not resolved after all is discussed in

  • Heling Deng, Mark P. Hertzberg, Mohammad Hossein Namjoo, Ali Masoumi, Can Light Dark Matter Solve the Core-Cusp Problem? (arXiv:1804.05921)

Claim that the fitting of the galaxy rotation curves is not resolved after all:

  • Mariangela Lisanti, Matthew Moschella, Nadav Joseph Outmezguine, Oren Slone, The Inconsistency of Superfluid Dark Matter with Milky Way Dynamics (arXiv:1911.12365)

Claim that superfluid dark matter is in tension with weak gravitational lensing data:

Last revised on March 25, 2023 at 19:08:32. See the history of this page for a list of all contributions to it.