LOFAR as a probe of the sources of cosmological reionization

Saleem Zaroubi, Joseph Silk

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review


We propose use of the thickness of the ionization front as a discriminant between alternative modes of reionization in the early Universe, by stars or by miniquasars. Assuming a photoionization-recombination balance, we find that for miniquasar sources the transition from neutral to ionized intergalactic medium is extended and has two features. The first is a sudden steep increase in the neutral fraction with a typical width of 5-10 comoving mega-parsecs, depending on the miniquasar power. The second feature is a long wing that represents a much slower transition from a neutral fraction of ≈ 0.8 to 1. The angular resolution of LOFAR is expected to resolve these scales and will, therefore, play an important role in discriminating the hard sources of ionizing photons from the stellar ones.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L64-L67
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Cosmology: theory
  • Diffuse radiation
  • Large-scale structure of universe
  • Quasars: general
  • Radio lines: general


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