Primordial non-gaussianity, scale-dependent bias, and the bispectrum of galaxies

Donghui Jeong, Eiichiro Komatsu

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119 Scopus citations


The three-point correlation function of cosmological fluctuations is a sensitive probe of the physics of inflation. We calculate the bispectrum, B g (k 1, k 2, k 3), Fourier transform of the three-point function of density peaks (e.g., galaxies), using two different methods: the Matarrese-Lucchin-Bonometto formula and the locality of galaxy bias. The bispectrum of peaks is not only sensitive to that of the underlying matter density fluctuations, but also to the four-point function. For a physically motivated, local form of primordial non-Gaussianity in the curvature perturbation, Φ = φ + f NLφ2 + g NLφ3, where φ is a Gaussian field, we show that the galaxy bispectrum contains five physically distinct pieces: (1) non-linear gravitational evolution, (2) non-linear galaxy bias, (3) f NL, (4) f 2 NL, and (5) g NL. While (1), (2), and a part of (3) have been derived in the literature, (4) and (5) are derived in this paper for the first time. We also find that, in the high-density peak limit, (3) receives an enhancement of a factor of 15 relative to the previous calculation for the squeezed triangles (k 1 k 2 ≫ k 3). Our finding suggests that the galaxy bispectrum is more sensitive to f NL than previously recognized, and is also sensitive to a new term, g NL. For a more general form of local-type non-Gaussianity, the coefficient f 2 NL can be interpreted as τNL, which allows us to test multi-field inflation models using the relation between the three- and four-point functions. The usual terms from Gaussian initial conditions, (1) and (2), have the smallest signals in the squeezed configurations, while the others have the largest signals; thus, we can distinguish them easily. We cannot interpret the effects of f NL on Bg (k 1, k 2, k 3) as a scale-dependent bias, and thus replacing the linear bias in the galaxy bispectrum with the scale-dependent bias known for the power spectrum results in an incorrect prediction. As the importance of primordial non-Gaussianity relative to the non-linear gravity evolution and galaxy bias increases toward higher redshifts, galaxy surveys probing a high-redshift universe are particularly useful for probing the primordial non-Gaussianity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1230-1248
Number of pages19
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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