The impact of ΛCDM substructure and baryon-dark matter transition on the image positions of quad galaxy lenses

Matthew R. Gomer, Liliya L.R. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The positions of multiple images in galaxy lenses are related to the galaxy mass distribution. Smooth elliptical mass profiles were previously shown to be inadequate in reproducing the quad population. In this paper, we explore the deviations from such smooth elliptical mass distributions. Unlike most other work, we use a model-free approach based on the relative polar image angles of quads, and their position in 3D space with respect to the fundamental surface of quads (FSQ). The FSQ is defined by quads produced by elliptical lenses. We have generated thousands of quads from synthetic populations of lenses with substructure consistent with Lambda cold dark matter (ΛCDM) simulations, and found that such perturbations are not sufficient to match the observed distribution of quads relative to the FSQ. The result is unchanged even when subhalo masses are increased by a factor of 10, and the most optimistic lensing selection bias is applied. We then produce quads from galaxies created using two components, representing baryons and dark matter. The transition from the mass being dominated by baryons in inner radii to being dominated by dark matter in outer radii can carry with it asymmetries, which would affect relative image angles. We run preliminary experiments using lenses with two elliptical mass components with non-identical axial ratios and position angles, perturbations from ellipticity in the form of non-zero Fourier coefficients a4 and a6, and artificially offset ellipse centres as a proxy for asymmetry at image radii. We show that combination of these effects is a promising way of accounting for quad population properties. We conclude that the quad population provides a unique and sensitive tool for constraining detailed mass distribution in the centres of galaxies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1987-2002
Number of pages16
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 The Author(s).


  • Galaxies: structure
  • Gravitational lensing: strong


Dive into the research topics of 'The impact of ΛCDM substructure and baryon-dark matter transition on the image positions of quad galaxy lenses'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this