The Abundances of Deuterium, Helium and Lithium Test and Constrain the Standard Model of Cosmology
The standard hot big bang model with input from the experimentally tested standard model of particle physics (e.g., three flavors of neutrinos) is remarkably successful in accounting for the abundances of the light elements D, 3 He, 4 He and 7 Li. Accurate observations of the abundances of these light elements, along with the means to extrapolate them to their primordial values, provide an invaluable tool for testing the predictions of the standard cosmological model and for constraining the baryon density of the Universe. The current data on the abundances of the light elements is reviewed and is supplemented by model independent and some model dependent (i.e. galactic chemical evolution models) estimates to derive their primordial values. The inferred primordial abundances are compared with the predictions of nucleosynthesis in the standard cosmological model to test the consistency of the model and to constrain the allowed range of the baryon-to-photon ratio (η). The preferred value of η = 4 × 10-10 points to a very low baryon density (Ω B ≲ 0.1) and strengthens the case for nonbaryonic dark matter.
KeywordsSolar System Giant Planet Lithium Abundance Standard Cosmological Model Primordial Nucleosynthesis
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