In recent years, it has become possible to detect individual dark matter subhalos near strong gravitational lenses. Typically, only the most massive subhalos in the strong lensing region may be detected this way. In this work, we show that strong lenses may also be used to constrain the much more numerous population of lower mass subhalos that are too small to be detected individually. In particular, we show that the power spectrum of projected density fluctuations in galaxy halos can be measured using strong gravitational lensing. We develop the mathematical framework of power spectrum estimation, and test our method on mock observations. We use our results to determine the types of observations required to measure the substructure power spectrum with high significance. We predict that deep observations with current facilities (in particular ALMA) can measure this power spectrum, placing strong constraints on the abundance of dark matter subhalos and the underlying particle nature of dark matter.
Y. Hezaveh, N. Dalal, G. Holder, et. al.
Thu, 13 Mar 14