Journal Article

Imprints of dark energy on cosmic structure formation – I. Realistic quintessence models and the non-linear matter power spectrum

J.-M. Alimi, A. Füzfa, V. Boucher, Y. Rasera, J. Courtin and P.-S. Corasaniti

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 401, issue 2, pages 775-790
Published in print January 2010 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online January 2010 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Imprints of dark energy on cosmic structure formation – I. Realistic quintessence models and the non-linear matter power spectrum

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Quintessence has been proposed to account for dark energy (DE) in the Universe. This component causes a typical modification of the background cosmic expansion, which, in addition to its clustering properties, can leave a potentially distinctive signature on large-scale structures. Many previous studies have investigated this topic, particularly in relation to the non-linear regime of structure formation. However, no careful pre-selection of viable quintessence models with high precision cosmological data was performed. Here we show that this has led to a misinterpretation (and underestimation) of the imprint of quintessence on the distribution of large-scale structures. To this purpose, we perform a likelihood analysis of the combined Supernova Ia UNION data set and Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe 5-yr data to identify realistic quintessence models. These are specified by different model parameter values, but still statistically indistinguishable from the vanilla Λ cold dark matter (ΛCDM). Differences are especially manifest in the predicted amplitude and shape of the linear matter power spectrum though these remain within the uncertainties of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey data. We use these models as a benchmark for studying the clustering properties of dark matter haloes by performing a series of high-resolution N-body simulations. In this first paper, we specifically focus on the non-linear matter power spectrum. We find that realistic quintessence models allow for relevant differences of the dark matter distribution with respect to the ΛCDM scenario well into the non-linear regime, with deviations of up to 40 per cent in the non-linear power spectrum. Such differences are shown to depend on the nature of DE, as well as the scale and epoch considered. At small scales (k∼ 1–5 h Mpc−1, depending on the redshift), the structure formation process is about 20 per cent more efficient than in ΛCDM. We show that these imprints are a specific record of the cosmic structure formation history in DE cosmologies and therefore cannot be accounted for in standard fitting functions of the non-linear matter power spectrum.

Keywords: methods: N-body simulations; cosmic microwave background; cosmological parameters; dark matter; large-scale structure of Universe

Journal Article.  12064 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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