PHYSICAL REVIEW D 82, 083512 (2010)

Publication year: 2010

We investigate the virialization of cosmic structures in the framework of flat Friedmann-Lemaitre-Robertson-Walker cosmological models, in which the vacuum energy density evolves with time. In particular, our analysis focuses on the study of spherical matter perturbations, as they decouple from the background expansion, “turn around,” and finally collapse. We generalize the spherical collapse model in the case when the vacuum energy is a running function of the Hubble rate, Λ=Λ(H). A particularly well-motivated model of this type is the so-called quantum field vacuum, in which Λ(H) is a quadratic function, Λ(H)=n0+n2H2, with n0≠0. This model was previously studied by our team using the latest high quality cosmological data to constrain its free parameters, as well as the predicted cluster formation rate. It turns out that the corresponding Hubble expansion history resembles that of the traditional ΛCDM cosmology. We use this Λ(t)CDM framework to illustrate the fact that the properties of the spherical collapse model (virial density, collapse factor, etc.) depend on the choice of the considered vacuum energy (homogeneous or clustered). In particular, if the distribution of the vacuum energy is clustered, then, under specific conditions, we can produce more concentrated structures with respect to the homogeneous vacuum energy case.