Primordial non-Gaussianity and reionization

Adam Lidz, Eric J. Baxter, Peter Adshead, Scott Dodelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The statistical properties of the primordial perturbations contain clues about their origins. Although the Planck collaboration has recently obtained tight constraints on primordial non-Gaussianity from cosmic microwave background measurements, it is still worthwhile to mine upcoming data sets in an effort to place independent or competitive limits. The ionized bubbles that formed at redshift z∼6-20 during the epoch of reionization were seeded by primordial overdensities, and so the statistics of the ionization field at high redshift are related to the statistics of the primordial field. Here we model the effect of primordial non-Gaussianity on the reionization field. The epoch and duration of reionization are affected, as are the sizes of the ionized bubbles, but these changes are degenerate with variations in the properties of the ionizing sources and the surrounding intergalactic medium. A more promising signature is the power spectrum of the spatial fluctuations in the ionization field, which may be probed by upcoming 21 cm surveys. This has the expected 1/k2 dependence on large scales, characteristic of a biased tracer of the matter field. We project how well upcoming 21 cm observations will be able to disentangle this signal from foreground contamination. Although foreground cleaning inevitably removes the large-scale modes most impacted by primordial non-Gaussianity, we find that primordial non-Gaussianity can be separated from foreground contamination for a narrow range of length scales. In principle, futuristic redshifted 21 cm surveys may allow constraints competitive with Planck.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number023534
JournalPhysical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 29 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)

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