The title of my PhD thesis is "A detailed view of filaments and sheets of the warm-hot intergalactic medium". It is based on my research work at the AIP from December 2007 until March 2011 and was supervised by Dr. Jan Mücket and Prof. Dr. Matthias Steinmetz.
For a summary and some results I refer to the abstract of my thesis:
In the context of cosmological structure formation sheets, filaments and eventually halos form due to gravitational instabilities. It is noteworthy, that at all times, the majority of the baryons in the universe does not reside in the dense halos but in the filaments and the sheets of the intergalactic medium. While at higher redshifts of z > 2, these baryons can be detected via the absorption of light (originating from more distant sources) by neutral hydrogen at temperatures of T ~ 104 K (the Lyman-alpha forest), at lower redshifts only about 20 % can be found in this state. The remain (about 50 to 70 % of the total baryons mass) is unaccounted for by observational means. Numerical simulations predict that these missing baryons could reside in the filaments and sheets of the cosmic web at high temperatures of T = 104.5 - 107 K, but only at low to intermediate densities, and constitutes the warm-hot intergalactic medium (WHIM). The high temperatures of the WHIM are caused by the formation of shocks and the subsequent shock-heating of the gas. This results in a high degree of ionization and renders the reliable detection of the WHIM a challenging task. Recent high-resolution hydrodynamical simulations indicate that, at redshifts of z ~ 2, filaments are able to provide very massive galaxies with a significant amount of cool gas at temperatures of T ~ 104 K. This could have an important impact on the star-formation in those galaxies.