Constraints on the identity of the dark matter from strong gravitational lenses

Ran Li, Carlos Frenk, Shaun Cole, Liang Gao, Sownak Bose, Wojciech Hellwing

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The cold dark matter (CDM) cosmological model unambiguously predicts that a large number of haloes should survive as subhaloes when they are accreted into a larger halo. The CDM model would be ruled out if such substructures were shown not to exist. By contrast, if the dark matter consists of warm particles (WDM), then below a threshold mass that depends on the particle mass far fewer substructures would be present. Finding subhaloes below a certain mass would then rule out warm particle masses below some value. Strong gravitational lensing provides a clean method to measure the subhalo mass function through distortions in the structure of Einstein rings and giant arcs.Using mock lensing observations constructed from high-resolution N-body simulations, we show that measurements of approximately 100 strong lens systems with a detection limit of 10^7h−1M⊙ would clearly distinguish CDM from WDM in the case where this consists of 7 keV sterile neutrinos such as those that might be responsible for the 3.5 keV X-ray emission line recently detected in galaxies and clusters.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-372
Number of pages10
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
Early online date21 Apr 2016
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jul 2016


  • Dark matter
  • gravitational lensing: strong
  • galaxy: substructure
  • RCUK
  • STFC
  • ST/K00090/1
  • ST/L00075X/1
  • ST/K00042X/1
  • ST/H008519/1
  • ST/K003267/1


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