Measuring $μ$-Distortions from the Thermal Sunyaev-Zeldovich effect

Kavli Affiliate: Wayne Hu

| First 5 Authors: David Zegeye, Thomas Crawford, Wayne Hu, ,

| Summary:

The thermal Sunyaev-Zel’dovich (tSZ) effect is a spectral distortion of the
cosmic microwave background (CMB) resulting from inverse Compton scattering of
CMB photons with electrons in the medium of galaxy clusters. The spectrum of
the tSZ effect is typically calculated assuming the spectrum of the CMB is a
blackbody. However, energy or photon number injection at any epoch after photon
creation processes become inefficient will distort the blackbody, potentially
leading to a chemical potential or $mu$-distortion for early injection. These
$primordial$ spectral distortions will therefore introduce a change in the tSZ
effect, effectively a distortion of a distortion. While this effect is small
for an individual cluster’s spectrum, upcoming and proposed CMB surveys expect
to detect tens of thousands of clusters with the tSZ effect. In this paper, we
forecast constraints on the $mu$-distortion monopole from the distortion of
the tSZ spectrum of clusters measured by CMB surveys. We find that planned
experiments have the raw sensitivity to place constraints on $mu$ that are
comparable to or better than existing constraints but control over foregrounds
and other systematics will be critical.

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