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Sijacki, Debora (2007): Non gravitational heating mechanisms in galaxy clusters. Dissertation, LMU München: Fakultät für Physik



The study of the formation and growth of cosmic structures is one of the most fascinating and challenging fields of astrophysics. In the currently favoured cosmological model, the so-called LCDM cosmogony, dark matter structures grow hierarchically, with small clumps forming first at very early epochs. The merging of these dark matter halos in the following evolution leads to the formation of more massive objects with time, ultimately resulting in a complex cosmic web composed of filaments of dark matter and galaxies, rich galaxy clusters, and voids in between. While we have some knowledge how these dark matter structures evolve with cosmic time, the relationship between the "dark" and the "luminous" content of the Universe is still far from being fully understood and it poses many puzzling questions, both for observational and theoretical investigations. Galaxy clusters, the largest virialized objects in the Universe, are especially interesting for cosmological studies because they are ideal laboratories to study the physical processes relevant in structure formation, like those that shape the properties of galaxies, the intergalactic and intracluster media, and the active galactic nuclei (AGN) that originate from super-massive black holes (BHs) in cluster centres. The study of clusters is remarkably promising right now, both because of the wealth of new data from X-ray telescopes such as XMM-Newton and Chandra or from optical surveys such as SDSS, and also due to the increasing power of cosmological simulations as a theoretical tool. The latter can track the growth of cosmological structures far into the highly non-linear regime, and have recently become faithful enough to include for the first time physical processes such as AGN activity and its effect on galaxy evolution. Therefore the aim of this Thesis was to incorporate AGN heating process in fully self-consistent cosmological simulations of structure formation, and to constrain the relevance of this feedback mechanism for galaxy and galaxy cluster formation and evolution.