The ΛCDM (Lambda cold dark matter) or Lambda-CDM model is a parametrization of the Big Bang cosmological model in which the universe contains a cosmological constant, denoted by Lambda (Greek Λ), associated with dark energy, and cold dark matter (abbreviated CDM). It is frequently referred to as the standard model of Big Bang cosmology because it is the simplest model that provides a reasonably good account of the following properties of the cosmos:
- the existence and structure of the cosmic microwave background
- the large-scale structure in the distribution of galaxies
- the abundances of hydrogen (including deuterium), helium, and lithium
- the accelerating expansion of the universe observed in the light from distant galaxies and supernovae
The model assumes that general relativity is the correct theory of gravity on cosmological scales. It emerged in the late 1990s as a concordance cosmology, after a period of time when disparate observed properties of the universe appeared mutually inconsistent, and there was no consensus on the makeup of the energy density of the universe.
Some alternative models challenge the assumptions of the ΛCDM model. Examples of these are modified Newtonian dynamics, modified gravity, theories of large-scale variations in the matter density of the universe, and scale invariance of empty space.