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Searching for dark matter subhalos using strong lensing of dusty star forming galaxies

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On small scales, our understanding of dark matter in galaxies is incomplete. One example is that high resolution simulations predict a large number of subhalos in dark matter halos, which should be seen in our Milky Way galaxy as a host of satellite galaxies. Many plausible astrophysical mechanisms have been proposed to explain why we don't clearly see large numbers of such satellite galaxies, but this remains a test of the cold dark matter scenario that has yet to be passed. Gravitational lensing provides a direct probe of subhalos in distant galaxies, but requires high sensitivity and angular resolution. I will talk about a search that is now started using strong lensing of the mm and submm-wave emission from dust grains in high-redshift star-forming galaxies. The properties of the dust emission are well-matched to the typical expected scales of the dark matter subhalos, and ALMA (the Atacama Large Millimeter Array) now has the sensitivity and angular resolution to start to see the lensing signature of these subhalos. We haven't found any yet in early data, but we should see some soon if the cold dark matter paradigm is correct.