Galaxy clusters are the most massive, gravitationally bound structures in the universe. They are important witnesses of the structure formation process and their abundance reflects the shape of the power spectrum of the primordial density fluctuations. A specific set of cosmological parameters predicts a well defined formation history and internal structure for these objects. For this reason, clusters are potentially powerful probes of cosmology.

ImageGalaxy clusters can be observed at different wavelengths, ranging from radio to X-ray. Their matter also leaves its imprint on the shape of distant galaxies through the gravitational lensing effect.

Our group is currently involved in several studies aiming at investigating the properties of galaxy clusters. In particular, a big effort is devoted to understanding the internal structure and the dynamical properties of these objects, the composition (dark-matter, gas, stars, etc.), the density profiles and the level of substructures. Image

These studies are of fundamental importance for being able to fully understand the statistical properties of the galaxy cluster population (e.g. their mass function, their overall ability to produce lensing events, etc.) and to use clusters as cosmological probes.

The main research topics of our group are:
  1. Cavities and radio halos in the ICM;
  2. Merging in nearby systems;
  3. Metal abundance of the ICM at intermediate and high redshift;
  4. X-ray/SZ scaling relations;
  5. Strong and Weak lensing effects by galaxy clusters;
  6. Numerical simulations of galaxy clusters & their properties as resolved through X-ray and lensing mock observations.
International collaborations

  • EDGE/XENIA PI L. Piro (INAF-IASF Rome), C. Kouveliotou (Huntsville)
  • XEUS PI G. Hasinger (MPE)
  • DUNE PI A. Refregier (Saclay)