Dark matter substructure detection using spatially resolved spectroscopy of lensed dusty galaxies

Yashar Hezaveh, Neal Dalal, Gilbert Holder, Michael Kuhlen, Daniel Marrone, Norman Murray, Joaquin Vieira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We investigate how strong lensing of dusty, star-forming galaxies (DSFGs) by foreground galaxies can be used as a probe of dark matter halo substructure. We find that spatially resolved spectroscopy of lensed sources allows dramatic improvements to measurements of lens parameters. In particular, we find that modeling of the full, three-dimensional (angular position and radial velocity) data can significantly facilitate substructure detection, increasing the sensitivity of observables to lower mass subhalos. We carry out simulations of lensed dusty sources observed by early ALMA (Cycle 1) and use a Fisher matrix analysis to study the parameter degeneracies and mass detection limits of this method. We find that even with conservative assumptions, it is possible to detect galactic dark matter subhalos of ∼108 M® with high significance in most lensed DSFGs. Specifically, we find that in typical DSFG lenses, there is a ∼55% probability of detecting a substructure with M > 108 M® with more than 5σ detection significance in each lens, if the abundance of substructure is consistent with previous lensing results. The full ALMA array, with its significantly enhanced sensitivity and resolution, should improve these estimates considerably. Given the sample of ∼100 lenses provided by surveys such as the South Pole Telescope, our understanding of dark matter substructure in typical galaxy halos is poised to improve dramatically over the next few years.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 10 2013


  • dark matter
  • galaxies: dwarf
  • galaxies: luminosity function, mass function
  • galaxies: structure
  • gravitational lensing: strong

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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