In collaboration with Particle Theory
One contribution to any dark sector’s abundance comes from its gravitational production during inflation. If the dark sector is weakly coupled to the inflaton and the Standard Model, this can be its only production mechanism. In the first part of this talk, we will review this mechanism for non-interacting dark sectors, such as free massive scalars, vectors and fermions. The second part will discuss, through the example of dark massive QED, how the presence of interactions can result in a vastly different mass for the dark matter particle. Inflation produces a non-thermal vector condensate consisting of an enormous number of bosons, which via interesting strong field processes, transfers its energy to a small number of “dark electrons” and triggers thermalization of the dark sector. The resulting dark electron DM mass range is from 50 MeV to 30 TeV, far different from both the 10^−5 eV mass of the massive free photon dark matter in the absence of dark electrons, and from the 10^9 GeV free dark electron mass in the absence of dark photons.