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The impact and response of mini-haloes and the interhalo medium on cosmic reionization

Chan, Tsang Keung; Benítez-Llambay, Alejandro; Theuns, Tom; Frenk, Carlos; Bower, Richard

The impact and response of mini-haloes and the interhalo medium on cosmic reionization Thumbnail


Alejandro Benítez-Llambay

Richard Bower


An ionization front (I-front) that propagates through an inhomogeneous medium is slowed down by self-shielding and recombination's. We perform cosmological radiation hydrodynamics simulations of the I-front propagation during the epoch of cosmic reionization. The simulations resolve gas in mini-haloes (halo mass 104 ≲ Mh[M⊙] ≲ 108) that could dominate recombination's, in a computational volume that is large enough to sample the abundance of such haloes. The numerical resolution is sufficient (gas-particle mass ∼20 M⊙ and spatial resolution <0.1 ckpc) to allow accurate modelling of the hydrodynamic response of gas to photoheating. We quantify the photoevaporation time of mini-haloes as a function of Mh and its dependence on the photoionization rate, Γ−12, and the redshift of reionization, zi. The recombination rate can be enhanced over that of a uniform medium by a factor ∼10−20 early on. The peak value increases with Γ−12 and decreases with zi, due to the enhanced contribution from mini-haloes. The clumping factor, cr, decreases to a factor of a few at ∼100 Myr after the passage of the I-front when the mini-haloes have been photoevaporated; this asymptotic value depends only weakly on Γ−12. Recombination's increase the required number of photons per baryon to reionize the Universe by 20 per cent–100 per cent, with the higher value occurring when Γ−12 is high and zi is low. We complement the numerical simulations with simple analytical models for the evaporation rate and the inverse Strömgren layer. The study also demonstrates the proficiency and potential of SPH-M1RT to address astrophysical problems in high-resolution cosmological simulations.


Chan, T. K., Benítez-Llambay, A., Theuns, T., Frenk, C., & Bower, R. (2024). The impact and response of mini-haloes and the interhalo medium on cosmic reionization. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 528(2), 1296-1326.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 2, 2024
Online Publication Date Jan 11, 2024
Publication Date Jan 23, 2024
Deposit Date Mar 14, 2024
Publicly Available Date Mar 14, 2024
Journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Print ISSN 0035-8711
Electronic ISSN 1365-2966
Publisher Royal Astronomical Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 528
Issue 2
Pages 1296-1326
Keywords Space and Planetary Science; Astronomy and Astrophysics
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Copyright Statement
Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Royal Astronomical Society. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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