Strong Gravitational Lensing with the SKA

J. McKean, N. Jackson, S. Vegetti, M. Rybak, S. Serjeant, L. V. E. Koopmans, R. B. Metcalf, C. Fassnacht, P. J. Marshall, M. Pandey-Pommier

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Strong gravitational lenses provide an important tool to measure masses in the distant Universe, thus testing models for galaxy formation and dark matter; to investigate structure at the Epoch of Reionization; and to measure the Hubble constant and possibly w as a function of redshift. However, the limiting factor in all of these studies has been the currently small samples of known gravitational lenses (~10^2). The era of the SKA will transform our understanding of the Universe with gravitational lensing, particularly at radio wavelengths where the number of known gravitational lenses will increase to ~10^5. Here we discuss the technical requirements, expected outcomes and main scientific goals of a survey for strong gravitational lensing with the SKA. We find that an all-sky (3pi sr) survey carried out with the SKA1-MID array at an angular resolution of 0.25-0.5 arcsec and to a depth of 3 microJy / beam is required for studies of galaxy formation and cosmology with gravitational lensing. In addition, the capability to carryout VLBI with the SKA1 is required for tests of dark matter and studies of supermassive black holes at high redshift to be made using gravitational lensing.

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