Exploring the High-redshift PBH-ΛCDM Universe: Early Black Hole Seeding, the First Stars and Cosmic Radiation Backgrounds

Nico Cappelluti, Günther Hasinger, Priyamvada Natarajan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We explore the observational implications of a model in which primordial black holes (PBHs) with a broad birth mass function ranging in mass from a fraction of a solar mass to 106 M ⊙, consistent with current observational limits, constitute the dark matter (DM) component in the universe. The formation and evolution of dark matter and baryonic matter in this PBH-Λ cold dark matter (ΛCDM) universe are presented. In this picture, PBH-DM mini-halos collapse earlier than in standard ΛCDM, baryons cool to form stars at z ∼15-20, and growing PBHs at these early epochs start to accrete through Bondi capture. The volume emissivity of these sources peaks at z ∼20 and rapidly fades at lower redshifts. As a consequence, PBH DM could also provide a channel to make early black hole seeds and naturally account for the origin of an underlying DM halo-host galaxy and central black hole connection that manifests as the M bh-σ correlation. To estimate the luminosity function and contribution to integrated emission power spectrum from these high-redshift PBH-DM halos, we develop a halo occupation distribution model. In addition to tracing the star formation and reionization history, it permits us to evaluate the cosmic infrared and X-ray backgrounds. We find that accretion onto PBHs/active galactic nuclei successfully accounts for the detected backgrounds and their cross-correlation, with the inclusion of an additional IR stellar emission component. Detection of the deep IR source count distribution by the James Webb Space Telescope could reveal the existence of this population of high-redshift star-forming and accreting PBH DM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number205
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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