According to the standard cold dark matter (CDM) cosmology, the structure of dark halos including those of galaxy clusters reflects their mass accretion history. Older clusters tend to be more concentrated than younger clusters. Their structure, represented by the characteristic radius
of the Navarro–Frenk–White (NFW) density profile, is related to their formation time. In this study, we showed that
, and the X-ray temperature of the intracluster medium (ICM),
, form a thin plane in the space of
. This tight correlation indicates that the ICM temperature is also determined by the formation time of individual clusters. Numerical simulations showed that clusters move along the fundamental plane as they evolve. The plane and the cluster evolution within the plane could be explained by a similarity solution of structure formation of the universe. The angle of the plane shows that clusters have not achieved “virial equilibrium” in the sense that mass/size growth and pressure at the boundaries cannot be ignored. The distribution of clusters on the plane was related to the intrinsic scatter in the halo concentration–mass relation, which originated from the variety of cluster ages. The well-known mass–temperature relation of clusters (
) can be explained by the fundamental plane and the mass dependence of the halo concentration without the assumption of virial equilibrium. The fundamental plane could also be used for calibration of cluster masses.
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