Testing Primordial Black Hole Dark Matter with Atacama Large Millimeter Array Observations of the Gravitational Lens B1422+231

Di Wen*, Athol J. Kemball

*Corresponding author for this work

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We examine the flux density ratio anomaly in the quadruply imaged strong gravitational lens, B1422+231, and consider the contribution of 10– (Formula presented.) primordial black holes (PBHs) as a potential dark matter constituent. We describe the first flux density ratio measurement of B1422+231 in the millimeter-wave band using the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA). The flux density of the quasar at 233 GHz is dominated by synchrotron emission and the source size is estimated to be less than 66.9 pc. The observed flux density ratios at 233 GHz are similar to those measured in other wave bands, which cannot be explained by a simple smooth mass model of the lens galaxy. We examine the probability of the flux density ratio anomaly arising from PBH microlensing using ray tracing simulations. The simulations consider the cases where 10% and 50% of dark matter are 10– (Formula presented.) PBHs with a power law mass function. The simulated scenarios are consistent with the ALMA observations, so PBH dark matter cannot be ruled out as a cause of flux density ratio anomalies. Our analysis shows that the anomalous flux density ratio for B1422+231 can be explained by a lens model with a significant fraction of dark matter being PBHs. This study demonstrates the potential for new constraints on PBH dark matter using ALMA observations of multiply imaged strong gravitational lenses.

Original languageEnglish
Article number37
Number of pages17
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan-2024


  • cosmology
  • dark matter
  • primordial black hole
  • quasars
  • strong gravitational lensing

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