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[astroph/0512218] Weak Gravitational Lensing of HighRedshift 21 cm Power Spectra

Authors:  Kaisey S. Mandel, Matias Zaldarriaga (Harvard) 
Abstract:  We describe the effects of weak gravitational lensing by cosmological large
scale structure on the diffuse emission of 21 centimeter radiation from neutral
hydrogen at high redshifts during the era of reionization. The ability to
observe radial information through the frequency, and thus threedimensional
regions of the background radiation at different redshifts, suggests that 21 cm
studies may provide a useful context for studying weak lensing effects. We
focus on the gravitational lensing effects on both the angular power spectra
and the intrinsic, threedimensional power spectra. We present a new approach
for calculating the weak lensing signature based on integrating differential
Fourierspace shells of the deflection field and approximating the
magnification matrix. This method is applied to reionization models of the 21
cm spectra up to small angular scales over a range in redshift. The effect on
the angular power spectrum is typically < 1% on small angular scales, and very
small on scales corresponding to the feature imprinted by reionization bubbles,
due to the nearscale invariance of the angular power spectrum of the 21 cm
signal on these scales. We describe the expected effect of weak lensing on
threedimensional 21 cm power spectra, and show that lensing creates aspherical
perturbations to the intrinsic power spectrum which depend on the polar angle
of the wavevector. The effect on the 3D power spectrum is < 1% on scales k <
0.1 h/Mpc, but can be > 1% for highly inclined modes for k > 1 h/Mpc. The
angular variation of the lensing effect on these scales is well described by a
quartic polynomial in the cosine of the polar angle. The detection of the
gravitational lensing effects on 21 cm power spectra will require very
sensitive, high resolution observations by future lowfrequency radio arrays. 

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Antony Lewis
Joined: 23 Sep 2004 Posts: 1327 Affiliation: University of Sussex

Posted: December 15 2005 


This interesting paper includes a new way for computing the lensing effect on a power spectrum applicable when the power spectrum has lots of small scale power (unlike the CMB, the 21cm spectrum is nearly flat on small scales). They use this and show that the lensing effect on the 21cm power spectrum is very small and hard to detect.
This contrasts with using the shapes of resolved structures observed in 21cm (e.g. astroph/0305387), which is claimed to give very powerful constraints. I presume this corresponds to nonGaussian signals which are not considered in this paper.
Regarding the new method for computing the lensing effect on the power sectrum: they make fully justified criticisms of the series expansion approach, which is indeed very poor in general. However the method of Seljak working with the correlation functions (astroph/9505109, reviewed recently in astroph/0502425) is in principle nonperturbative and much more accurate. Indeed in Sec 2.5 the authors say "what is physically important is the difference between the deflection angles at the two points", which is exactly what the Seljak method uses: it is based on a calculation of the correlation function of the difference of deflection angles (equivalent to shear and convergence only in the limit of small separation). I would therefore be interested to see whether Seljak's much simpler method would actually work at least as well.
The Seljak result for the lensed power spectrum can be written exactly as
(this form in terms of regular and modified Bessel functions is new  it corresponds to resumming the series expansion given in the Seljak paper). Here σ^{2}(r) and C_{gl,2}(r) measure the correlation of the deflection angles, and for small r are given by κ^{2} r^{2} and κ^{2} r^{2}/2 respectively. This full result is nonperturbative in both terms, though the lowest series expansion given in Seljak is probably accurate at some level up to l ~ 10^{4.} The number of terms you need to keep in n is I suspect quite small: the Bessel functions are very small at high n unless the argument is large, so I'd have thought keeping just a few terms would be sufficient to compute the lensed 21cm spectrum accurately up to l ~ 10^{5}, though I haven't tried it. In principle the integral from which this result came could also be calculated directly numerically.
Of course the new method is interesting in its own right (though quite complicated!) even if other methods are available. Particularly nice to see the new result for a lensed white spectrum: the ~ 1+ 4 κ^{2} scaling has been neglected previously.
One further comment: it's not clear to me from Fig. 1 that the convergence power κ^{2} is actually very small (as stated in 2.2.1), though to a low cut off it would be. Because the spectrum is flattish on small scales in general it depends on what happens on small scales off the right of the figure. I think integrated up values of 0.1 are not unreasonable if very small scale power is included. So it's not neccessarily clear that expansions in κ are in general a very good idea unless they are otherwise regularlized (which they probably are). 

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