Fast large-scale reionization simulations

Rajat M. Thomas, Saleem Zaroubi, Benedetta Ciardi, Andreas H. Pawlik, Panagiotis Labropoulos, Vibor Jelić, Gianni Bernardi, Michiel A. Brentjens, A. G. De Bruyn, Geraint J.A. Harker, Leon V.E. Koopmans, Garrelt Mellema, V. N. Pandey, Joop Schaye, Sarod Yatawatta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present an efficient method to generate large simulations of the epoch of reionization without the need for a full three-dimensional radiative transfer code. Large dark-matter-only simulations are post-processed to produce maps of the redshifted 21-cm emission from neutral hydrogen. Dark matter haloes are embedded with sources of radiation whose properties are either based on semi-analytical prescriptions or derived from hydrodynamical simulations. These sources could either be stars or power-law sources with varying spectral indices. Assuming spherical symmetry, ionized bubbles are created around these sources, whose radial ionized fraction and temperature profiles are derived from a catalogue of one-dimensional radiative transfer experiments. In case of overlap of these spheres, photons are conserved by redistributing them around the connected ionized regions corresponding to the spheres. The efficiency with which these maps are created allows us to span the large parameter space typically encountered in reionization simulations. We compare our results with other, more accurate, three-dimensional radiative transfer simulations and find excellent agreement for the redshifts and the spatial scales of interest to upcoming 21-cm experiments. We generate a contiguous observational cube spanning redshift 6 to 12 and use these simulations to study the differences in the reionization histories between stars and quasars. Finally, the signal is convolved with the Low Frequency Array (LOFAR) beam response and its effects are analysed and quantified. Statistics performed on this mock data set shed light on possible observational strategies for LOFAR.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-48
Number of pages17
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Cosmology: observation
  • Cosmology: theory
  • Diffuse radiation
  • Quasars: general
  • Radio lines: general


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