Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair

Massimiliano Bonamente

Committee Member

John Fix

Committee Member

Richard Lieu

Committee Member

Robert Preece

Committee Member

Martin Weisskopf


Galaxies--Clusters., X-ray astronomy.


A powerful method for investigating cosmology is to observe the evolution of clusters over time, accomplished through analysis of cluster properties over a range of redshifts. One important property to examine is the cluster mass function, i.e., the number density of clusters of a given mass at a given redshift range. Studies of the evolution of the cluster mass function over redshift ranges are used for obtaining cosmological constraints. To expand our mass knowledge to higher redshifts, a robust method for determining cluster masses utilizing radio data is desired. Presented within this dissertation are measurements of the Sunyaev-Zel'dovich Effect (SZE) of a sample of 32 galaxy clusters observed with the Sunyaev-Zel'dovich Array, an interferometric array at the Combined Array for Research in Millimeter-wave Astronomy observatory. The sample is selected from the most luminous galaxy clusters in the ROSAT Bright Cluster Sample in the redshift range 0.15 > z > 0.3. The data are analyzed using a method that makes use of the virial theorem to measure masses directly from the SZE observations. We show that masses can be accurately estimated from the SZE data alone, provided the availability of an average gas mass fraction that can be calibrated separately from X-ray observations. This method is therefore an alternative to mass-observable scaling relations to measure dynamical masses directly from SZE observations.



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