Microlensing of Strongly Lensed Quasars

G. Vernardos, D. Sluse, D. Pooley, R. W. Schmidt, M. Millon, L. Weisenbach, V. Motta, T. Anguita, P. Saha, M. O’Dowd, A. Peel, P. L. Schechter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Strong gravitational lensing of quasars has the potential to unlock the poorly understood physics of these fascinating objects, as well as serve as a probe of the lensing mass distribution and of cosmological parameters. In particular, gravitational microlensing by compact bodies in the lensing galaxy can enable mapping of quasar structure to <10−6 arcsec scales. Some of this potential has been realized over the past few decades, however the upcoming era of large sky surveys promises to bring this promise to full fruition. In this article, we review the theoretical framework of this field, describe the prominent current methods for parameter inference from quasar microlensing data across different observing modalities, and discuss the constraints so far derived on the geometry and physics of quasar inner structure. We also review the application of strong lensing and microlensing to constraining the granularity of the lens potential, i.e. the contribution of the baryonic and dark matter components, and the local mass distribution in the lens, i.e. the stellar mass function. Finally, we discuss the future of the field, including the new possibilities that will be opened by the next generation of large surveys and by new analysis methods now being developed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number14
JournalSpace Science Reviews
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024


  • Gravitational lensing: micro
  • Gravitational lensing: strong

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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