Age constraints and fine tuning in variable-mass particle models
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VAMP (variable-mass particle) scenarios, in which the mass of the cold dark matter particles is a function of the scalar field responsible for the present acceleration of the Universe, have been proposed as a solution to the cosmic coincidence problem, since in the attractor regime both dark energy and dark matter scale in the same way. We find that only a narrow region in parameter space leads to models with viable values for the Hubble constant and dark energy density today. In the allowed region, the dark energy density starts to dominate around the present epoch and consequently such models cannot solve the coincidence problem. We show that the age of the Universe in this scenario is considerably higher than the age for noncoupled dark energy models, and conclude that more precise independent measurements of the age of the Universe would be useful in distinguishing between coupled and noncoupled dark energy models. © 2004 The American Physical Society.