Nonlinear evolution of the bispectrum of cosmological perturbations

Román Scoccimarro, Stéphane Colombi, J. N. Fry, Joshua A. Frieman, Eric Hivon, Adrian Melott

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The bispectrum B(k1, k2, k3), the three-point function of density fluctuations in Fourier space, is the lowest order statistic that carries information about the spatial coherence of large-scale structures. For Gaussian initial conditions, when the density fluctuation amplitude is small (δ ≪ 1), tree-level (leading order) perturbation theory predicts a characteristic dependence of the bispectrum on the shape of the triangle formed by the three wave vectors. This configuration dependence provides a signature of gravitational instability, and departures from it in galaxy catalogs can be interpreted as due to bias, that is, nongravitational effects. On the other hand, N-body simulations indicate that the reduced three-point function becomes relatively shape-independent in the strongly nonlinear regime (δ ≫ 1). In order to understand this nonlinear transition and assess the domain of reliability of shape dependence as a probe of bias, we calculate the one-loop (next-to-leading order) corrections to the bispectrum in perturbation theory. We compare these results with measurements in numerical simulations with scale-free and cold dark matter initial power spectra. We find that the one-loop corrections account very well for the departures from the tree-level results measured in numerical simulations on weakly nonlinear scales (δ ≲ 1). In this regime, the reduced bispectrum qualitatively retains its tree-level shape, but the amplitude can change significantly. At smaller scales (δ ≳ 1), the reduced bispectrum in the simulations starts to flatten, an effect that can be partially understood from the one-loop results. In the strong clustering regime, where perturbation theory breaks down entirely, the simulation results confirm that the reduced bispectrum has almost no dependence on triangle shape, in rough agreement with the hierarchical Ansatz.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)586-604
    Number of pages19
    JournalAstrophysical Journal
    Issue number2 PART I
    StatePublished - 1998


    • Large-scale structure of universe
    • Methods: Numerical
    • Methods: Statistical

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Astronomy and Astrophysics
    • Space and Planetary Science


    Dive into the research topics of 'Nonlinear evolution of the bispectrum of cosmological perturbations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this