Detection of thermal SZ-CMB lensing cross-correlation in Planck nominal mission data

J. Colin Hill, David N. Spergel

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86 Scopus citations


The nominal mission maps from the Planck satellite contain a wealth of information about secondary anisotropies in the cosmic microwave background (CMB), including those induced by the thermal Sunyaev-Zel'dovich (tSZ) effect and gravitational lensing. As both the tSZ and CMB lensing signals trace the large-scale matter density field, the anisotropies sourced by these processes are expected to be correlated. We report the first detection of this cross-correlation signal, which we measure at 6.2σ significance using the Planck data. We take advantage of Planck's multifrequency coverage to construct a tSZ map using internal linear combination techniques, which we subsequently cross-correlate with the publicly-released Planck CMB lensing potential map. The cross-correlation is subject to contamination from the cosmic infrared background (CIB), which is known to correlate strongly with CMB lensing. We correct for this contamination via cross-correlating our tSZ map with the Planck 857 GHz map and confirm the robustness of our measurement using several null tests. We interpret the signal using halo model calculations, which indicate that the tSZ-CMB lensing cross-correlation is a unique probe of the physics of intracluster gas in high-redshift, low-mass groups and clusters. Our results are consistent with extrapolations of existing gas physics models to this previously unexplored regime and show clear evidence for contributions from both the one- and two-halo terms, but no statistically significant evidence for contributions from diffuse, unbound gas outside of collapsed halos. We also show that the amplitude of the signal depends rather sensitively on the amplitude of fluctuations (σ8) and the matter density (Ωm), scaling as σ86.1Ωm1.5 at ℓ = 1000. We constrain the degenerate combination σ8(Ωm/0.282)0.26 = 0.824±0.029, a result that is in less tension with primordial CMB constraints than some recent tSZ analyses. We also combine our measurement with the Planck measurement of the tSZ auto-power spectrum to demonstrate a technique that can in principle constrain both cosmology and the physics of intracluster gas simultaneously. Our detection is a direct confirmation that hot, ionized gas traces the dark matter distribution over a wide range of scales in the universe ( ∼ 0.1-50 Mpc/h).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number030
JournalJournal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics


  • Sunyaev-Zeldovich effct
  • cosmological parameters from LSS
  • galaxy clusters


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