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Differentiable Strong Lensing for Complex Lens Modelling
Luca Biggio

Strong lensing is a stunning physics phenomenon through which the light emitted from a distant cosmological source is distorted by the gravitational field of a foreground object distributed along the line of sight. Strong lensing observations are important, since, from their analysis, it is possible to infer properties of both the light-emitting source and the lens. In particular, precise lens modelling allows for the extraction of precious information on the distribution of dark matter in galaxies and clusters, which can provide tight constraints on several cosmological parameters. In this work, we consider the case where a comprehensive closed-form parametric model of the lens potential is only partially available, and we propose to model missing mass along the line-of-sight with a deep neural network. We incorporate the network within a fully differentiable, physically sound strong lensing simulator, and we train it via maximum likelihood estimation in an end-to-end fashion. Our experiments show that the model is able to effectively interact with the other components of the simulator and can successfully retrieve the underlying potential without any assumption on its form.

Author Information

Luca Biggio (ETH Zürich)

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