Giant Radio Halos and Relics in ACTPol Clusters.
Sikhosana, Sinenhlanhla Precious.
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Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally-bound structures in the universe. They act as the largest astrophysical laboratories in the universe and are extremely interesting objects to study as they are at crossroads between astrophysics and cosmology. In previous decades the most prominent cluster studies were focused on thermal processes in the intracluster medium (ICM). However, recent studies have shown that non-thermal studies give a different perspective on ICM processes. Giant radio halos and radio relics are examples of this non-thermal diffuse radio emission. Giant radio halos are believed to originate from synchrotron radiation resulting from the re-acceleration of relativistic electrons in the cluster's magnetic field by the turbulent energy following merger activity. Radio relics, another form of non-thermal diffuse radio emission, have been identi ed as possible tracers of merger shock waves. The study of diffuse radio emission has a number of open questions such as; the observed bimodality in the radio power versus X-ray luminosity plot. The bimodality could partly be due to the identi cation of halos and relics in clusters without a well-de ned selection function. In this thesis, we studied giant radio halos and relics in a homogeneous, mass-selected sample of sixteen clusters selected via the Sunyaev- Zel'dovich (SZ) effect by the Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ACT) with polarization sensitive receivers (ACTPol). We carried out a radio wavelength study using data obtained from the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) for four of these clusters. This subsample of four clusters will be added to the larger sample, eight of which have archival data, and four of which will be proposed for observations in the next GMRT observation cycle. We used the GMRT data at 610 MHz to search for diffuse radio emission in each cluster. We applied various uv-cuts and tapers to isolate the low-resolution emission in the target fi eld. For two of the four observed clusters, we tentatively discovered extended radio emission at a signifi cance level of at least 3o' We then measured radio fluxes for compact sources in the cluster region. We were able to calculate spectral indices for the compact sources that were cross-matched in FIRST.