The Phase‐Space Density Profiles of Cold Dark Matter Halos

James E. Taylor, Julio F. Navarro
2001 Astrophysical Journal  
We examine the coarse-grained phase-space density profiles of a set of recent, high-resolution simulations of galaxy-sized Cold Dark Matter (CDM) halos. Over two and a half decades in radius the phase-space density closely follows a power-law, $\rho/\sigma^3 \propto r^{-\alpha}$, with $\alpha = 1.875$. This behaviour matches the self-similar solution obtained by Bertschinger for secondary infall in a uniformly expanding universe. On the other hand, the density profile corresponding to
more » ... onding to Bertschinger's solution (a power-law of slope $r^{2\alpha-6}$) differs significantly from the density profiles of CDM halos. We show that isotropic mass distributions with power-law phase-space density profiles form a one-parameter family of structures controlled by $\kappa$, the ratio of the velocity dispersion to the peak circular velocity. For $\kappa=\alpha=1.875$ one recovers the power-law solution $\rho \propto r^{2\alpha-6}$. For $\kappa$ larger than some critical value, $\kappa_{cr}$, solutions become non-physical, leading to negative densities near the center. The critical solution, $\kappa =\kappa_{cr}$, has the narrowest phase-space density distribution compatible with the power-law phase-space density stratification constraint. Over three decades in radius the critical solution is indistinguishable from an NFW profile. Our results thus suggest that the NFW profile is the result of a hierarchical assembly process that preserves the phase-space stratification of Bertschinger's infall model but which "mixes" the system maximally, perhaps as a result of repeated merging.
doi:10.1086/324031 fatcat:xknotitqb5alhg52xmwbq7mqd4