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FLIMFLAM DR1: The First Constraints on the Cosmic Baryon Distribution from 8 FRB sightlines

Ilya S. KhrykinMetin AtaKhee-Gan Lee ...+14 Lucas Bernales-Cortes
Feb 2024
The dispersion measure of fast radio bursts (FRBs), arising from the interactions of the pulses with free electrons along the propagation path, constitutes a unique probe of the cosmic baryon distribution. Their constraining power is further enhanced in combination with observations of the foreground large-scale structure and intervening galaxies. In this work, we present the first constraints on the partition of the cosmic baryons between the intergalactic medium (IGM) and circumgalactic medium (CGM), inferred from the FLIMFLAM spectroscopic survey. In its first data release, the FLIMFLAM survey targeted galaxies in the foreground of 8 localized FRBs. Using Bayesian techniques, we reconstruct the underlying ~Mpc-scale matter density field that is traced by the IGM gas. Simultaneously, deeper spectroscopy of intervening foreground galaxies (at impact parameters $b_\perp \lesssim r_{200}$) and the FRB host galaxies constrains the contribution from the CGM. Applying Bayesian parameter inference to our data and assuming a fiducial set of priors, we infer the IGM cosmic baryon fraction to be $f_{\rm igm}=0.59^{+0.11}_{-0.10}$, and a CGM gas fraction of $f_{\rm gas} = 0.55^{+0.26}_{-0.29}$ for $10^{10}\,M_\odot \lesssim M_{\rm halo}\lesssim 10^{13}\,M_\odot$ halos. The mean FRB host dispersion measure (rest-frame) in our sample is $\langle \rm{DM_{host}}\rangle = 90^{+29}_{-19}\rm{pc~cm^{-3}}$, of which $\langle{\rm DM_{host}^{unk}}\rangle =69^{+28}_{-19}~\rm{pc~cm^{-3}}$ arises from the host galaxy ISM and/or the FRB progenitor environment. While our current $f_{\rm igm}$ and $f_{\rm gas}$ uncertainties are too broad to constrain most galactic feedback models, this result marks the first measurement of the IGM and CGM baryon fractions, as well as the first systematic separation of the FRB host dispersion measure into two components: arising from the halo and from the inner ISM/FRB engine.
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