The inner mass power spectrum of galaxies using strong gravitational lensing: beyond linear approximation

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In the last decade, the detection of individual massive dark matter sub-haloes has been possible using potential correction formalism in strong gravitational lens imaging. Here, we propose a statistical formalism to relate strong gravitational lens surface brightness anomalies to the lens potential fluctuations arising from dark matter distribution in the lens galaxy. We consider these fluctuations as a Gaussian random field in addition to the unperturbed smooth lens model. This is very similar to weak lensing formalism and we show that in this way we can measure the power spectrum of these perturbations to the potential. We test the method by applying it to simulated mock lenses of different geometries and by performing an MCMC analysis of the theoretical power spectra. This method can measure density fluctuations in early type galaxies on scales of 1-10 kpc at typical rms levels of a per cent, using a single lens system observed with the Hubble Space Telescope with typical signal-to-noise ratios obtained in a single orbit.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1762-1772
Number of pages11
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb-2018


  • gravitational lensing: strong
  • galaxies: elliptical and lenticular, cD
  • darkmatter

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