Probing the early universe using dark matter minihalos
The first gravitationally bound objects in the Universe were small, potentially Solar System–scale dark matter minihalos. These objects are broadly expected to survive today, and their potentially observable characteristics represent a probe of the primordial mass distribution at otherwise inaccessibly small scales. Consequently, they represent a unique probe of the late stages of inflation and the early postinflationary period. I use N-body simulations and mathematical modeling to decipher the connection between minihalos today and primordial cosmology.
Predicting populations of dark matter halos
All cosmic structure grew out of initially minor variations in the density of the Universe. This structure manifests visibly as galaxies, but it is dominated by invisible dark matter. Dark matter clusters into gravitationally bound halos that represent the building blocks of structure. The problem of predicting a halo population from the precursor mass distribution is a longstanding one, but I am developing new ways to approach this problem. My approach begins with the first halos, following their evolution as they cluster to produce later generations of halos.