Gravitational lensing and structural stability of dark matter caustic rings

Onemli V. K.

PHYSICAL REVIEW D, vol.74, no.12, 2006 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 74 Issue: 12
  • Publication Date: 2006
  • Doi Number: 10.1103/physrevd.74.123010
  • Title of Journal : PHYSICAL REVIEW D


In a cold dark matter (CDM) paradigm, density perturbations enter the nonlinear regime of structure formation where shell crossings occur, and caustics form. A dark matter caustic is generically a surface in space where the CDM particles are naturally focussed, and hence, the density is very large. The caustic ring model of galactic halo formation predicts a minimal caustic structure classified as outer caustics and caustic rings at certain locations in the halos. It provides a well-defined density profile and geometry near the caustics. Using this model, I show that the gravitational lensing by the cusps (A(-3) catastrophes) of caustic rings at cosmological distances may offer the tantalizing opportunity to detect CDM indirectly, and discriminate between axions and weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs). The lensing effects of the caustic rings increase as the line of sight approaches to the cusps where it diverges in the limit of zero velocity dispersion. In the presence of finite velocity dispersion, the caustics are smeared out in space, and hence, the divergence is cut off. Primordial smearing distance of caustics may be used to obtain an upper bound for the lensing effects. Evidences found for the caustic rings, on the other hand, were used to estimate an upper bound for the smearing distance, which may be used to obtain a lower bound for the lensing effects. In that range of smearing out, the magnification of a cosmological axion caustic ring is constrained between 3% and 2800% at the outer cusp, and between 2% and 46% at the nonplanar cusps. For a cosmological WIMP caustic ring, the magnification is constrained between 3% and 28% at the outer cusp, and between 2% and 5% at the nonplanar cusps. As pointlike background sources cross behind the axion (WIMP) folds, the time scale of brightness change is about an hour (a year). Thus, they may be used to probe the cusps and discriminate between axions and WIMPs by present instruments. Finally, I derive and analyze the catastrophe function of the triaxial caustic rings to prove rigorously that they are structurally stable.