Dec 15 – 16, 2022
Centre for Particle Theory, Durham
Europe/London timezone

The complexity of cosmic large-scale structure encoded in a single wavefunction

Dec 16, 2022, 9:40 AM
Ph30 (zoom room 2) (Centre for Particle Theory, Durham)

Ph30 (zoom room 2)

Centre for Particle Theory, Durham

Department of Physics Durham University South Road Durham DH1 3LE
Long talk (20 mins) Full Length Talks


Alex Gough (Newcastle University)


On large scales, the dark matter distribution can be treated as a perfect fluid. On small scales, gravitationally bound structures form through nonlinear clustering. Capturing the resulting cascade of multiple fluid streams in 6d phase space is challenging. We approximate the time evolution of this complex phase-space dynamics using a wavefunction, in the spirit of the quantum-classical correspondence. This method is a tool both for modelling the phase-space dynamics of cold dark matter in position-space, and is the fundamental description of ultralight dark matter candidates such as axions. In a simple dynamical model for the evolution of this dark matter wavefunction, I will demonstrate how the rapid oscillations from wave interference automatically encode information beyond perfect fluid models and how the classical streams are recovered from "unweaving" the interference. This description, together with connections to optical caustics and diffraction integrals, presents rich universal features that can unlock new ways of modelling and probing both wavelike and cold dark matter on the scales of the cosmic web.

Type of presentation 20 minute talk
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Primary author

Alex Gough (Newcastle University)

Presentation materials