CMB observations and the production of chemical elements at the end of the dark ages
Max-Planck Institut für Astrophysik, Karl-Schwarzschild-Str. 1, 85740 Garching, Germany
2 Space Research Institute (IKI), Profsoyuznaya 84/32, Moscow 117810, Russia
Corresponding author: K. Basu, firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 4 December 2003
The metallicity evolution and ionization history of the universe must leave its imprint on the Cosmic Microwave Background through resonant scattering of CMB photons by atoms, ions and molecules. These transitions partially erase original temperature anisotropies of the CMB, and also generate new fluctuations. In this paper we propose a method to determine the abundance of these heavy species in low density (over-densities less than ) optically thin regions of the universe by using the unprecedented sensitivity of current and future CMB experiments. In particular, we focus our analysis on the sensitivity of the Planck HFI detectors in four spectral bands. We also present results for and 810 which are of interest for balloon and ground-based instruments, like ACT, APEX and SPT. We use the fine-structure transitions of atoms and ions as a source of frequency dependent optical depth (). These transitions give different contributions to the power spectrum of CMB in different observing channels. By comparing results from those channels, it is possible to avoid the limit imposed by the cosmic variance and to extract information about the abundance of corresponding species at the redshift of scattering. For Planck HFI we will be able to get strong constraints ( solar fraction) on the abundances of neutral atoms like C, O, Si, S, and Fe in the redshift range 1-50. Fine-structure transitions of ions like CII, NII or OIII set similar limits in the very important redshift range 3-25 and can be used to probe the ionization history of the universe. Foregrounds and other frequency dependent contaminants may set a serious limitation for this method.
Key words: cosmology: cosmic microwave background / cosmology: theory / galaxies: intergalactic medium / atomic processes / nuclear reactions, nucleosynthesis, abundances
© ESO, 2004