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Durham University

Department of Physics

Staff profile

Publication details for Prof Carlos Frenk

Xu, D., Sluse, D., Gao, L., Wang, J., Frenk, C., Mao, S., Schneider, P. & Springel, V. (2015). How well can cold dark matter substructures account for the observed radio flux-ratio anomalies. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 447(4): 3189-3206.

Author(s) from Durham


Discrepancies between the observed and model-predicted radio flux ratios are seen in a number of quadruply-lensed quasars. The most favoured interpretation of these anomalies is that cold dark matter (CDM) substructures present in lensing galaxies perturb the lens potentials and alter image magnifications and thus flux ratios. So far no consensus has emerged regarding whether or not the predicted CDM substructure abundance fully accounts for the lensing flux anomaly observations. Accurate modelling relies on a realistic lens sample in terms of both the lens environment and internal structures and substructures. In this paper, we construct samples of generalized and specific lens potentials, to which we add (rescaled) subhalo populations from the galaxy-scale Aquarius and the cluster-scale Phoenix simulation suites. We further investigate the lensing effects from subhaloes of masses several orders of magnitude below the simulation resolution limit. The resulting flux-ratio distributions are compared to the currently best available sample of radio lenses. The observed anomalies in B0128+437, B0712+472 and B1555+375 are more likely to be caused by propagation effects or oversimplified/improper lens modelling, signs of which are already seen in the data. Among the quadruple systems that have closely located image triplets/pairs, the anomalous flux ratios of MG0414+0534 can be reproduced by adding CDM subhaloes to its macroscopic lens potential, with a probability of 5–20 per cent; for B0712+472, B1422+231, B1555+375 and B2045+265, these probabilities are only of a few per cent. We hence find that CDM substructures are unlikely to be the whole reason for radio flux anomalies. We discuss other possible effects that might also be at work.