An improved calculation of the non-Gaussian halo mass function

Guido D'Amico, Marcello Musso, Jorge Norẽa, Aseem Paranjape

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


The abundance of collapsed objects in the universe, or halo mass function, is an important theoretical tool in studying the effects of primordially generated non-Gaussianities on the large scale structure. The non-Gaussian mass function has been calculated by several authors in different ways, typically by exploiting the smallness of certain parameters which naturally appear in the calculation, to set up a perturbative expansion. We improve upon the existing results for the mass function by combining path integral methods and saddle point techniques (which have been separately applied in previous approaches). Additionally, we carefully account for the various scale dependent combinations of small parameters which appear. Some of these combinations in fact become of order unity for large mass scales and at high redshifts, and must therefore be treated non-perturbatively. Our approach allows us to do this, and also to account for multi-scale density correlations which appear in the calculation. We thus derive an accurate expression for the mass function which is based on approximations that are valid over a larger range of mass scales and redshifts than those of other authors. By tracking the terms ignored in the analysis, we estimate theoretical errors for our result and also for the results of others. We also discuss the complications introduced by the choice of smoothing filter function, which we take to be a top-hat in real space, and which leads to the dominant errors in our expression. Finally, we present a detailed comparison between the various expressions for the mass functions, exploring the accuracy and range of validity of each.

Original languageEnglish
Article number001
JournalJournal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • cluster counts
  • cosmological parameters from LSS
  • cosmological perturbation theory
  • non-gaussianity


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