A Study of AGN and their Environments in the Far-Infrared
Cao Orjales, Jose Manuel
My Ph.D. has been composed of work involving the use of far–IR and submm observations of AGN. During this time it has focused on the in- terplay between AGN and their host galaxies and cluster environments. Understanding the role of AGN, and how they affect the evolution of both their host galaxies and surrounding environments, is a pressing concern in cosmological models of the universe, affecting as they do the chemical makeup, star formation rate, and morphology of their host galaxies. In Chapter 2, we focus on attempting to determine whether there is an inherent physical difference between Broad Absorption Line Quasars and non–BAL QSOs using Herschel observations taken at 250, 350 and 500 μm as part of the H–ATLAS (Eales et al. 2010) survey. BAL QSOs have been considered the most visible form of AGN feedback, and therefore are a prime starting point for understanding how galaxy evolution may be affected by the presence of an AGN. By using matched samples of 50 BAL and 329 non–BAL QSOs, we create weighted stacks at each wavelength, finding similar far–IR flux–densities for each sample within the errors. By SED modelling using a simple modified black body (Hildebrand 1983) fit to Mrk 231 and IZw1, we derive likely upper and lower limits for the BAL and non–BAL QSOs in each wavelength, again finding they are consistent within the errors. A bevy of statistical tests run on either population similarly finds no evidence to reject the null hypothesis they are drawn from the same parent population. These results would imply that HiBAL QSOs can be unified with ordinary QSOs within a simple orientation dependent scheme. We cannot make the same distinction for LoBALs or FeLoBALs, which the literature suggests may well be a separate evolutionary phase. In Chapter 3, we determine whether the presence of an AGN correlates to an overdensity of star–forming galaxies in the FIR, as has been found at shorter wavelengths (Falder et al. 2010). For the SHAGs study, 171 AGN were observed and selected at z∼1. By using observations at 250 μm, we are able to trace close to the peak of the grey–body SED created by reprocessing by dust of radiation from young O and B stars. Following data reduction, we determine number counts and correct for completeness within a 1Mpc radius of the central AGN. We find an overdensity on the order of around 0.4 sources per AGN, implying a degree of activity already significantly lower than at higher redshifts. This overdensity appears to be somewhat different between RL AGN and RQQ within 1Mpc. A cor- relation is found between radio luminosity and star formation overdensity, consistent with a stronger dependence found by Falder et al. (2010) at 3.6 μm, and there also appears to be a correlation between stellar mass and star formation overdensity for radio–loud QSOs. The galaxies in the environs of the AGN have LIRG–level luminosities, and are likely the pro- genitors of modern day S0 galaxies, whose population increases steadily from z∼1 to the present day (Postman et al. 2005; Smith et al. 2005). Our work with SCUBA–2, presented in Chapter 4, follows on from a prior sample of X–ray–absorbed QSOs (Stevens et al. 2005). This new sample is composed of more highly–absorbed X–ray QSOs and covers a larger area than the initial sample, so is ideal for an analysis of source counts around AGN at high–redshift. Data from the JCMT have been reduced, and completeness corrections and flux corrections applied to catalogues to determine the number counts around AGN. A comparison background, created using data from the Cosmology Legacy Survey has been used to derive comparison counts. The AGN have been investigated, yet none are detected above 3 at 850 μm, in contrast to the original sample. This may suggest that star formation in their host galaxies has been suppressed. Upon stacking in redshift and BAL classification, no difference in flux– density is apparent and the sources studied here have a similar stacked submm output to an unabsorbed QSO sample created for the original X– ray absorbed QSOs. However, over half of the sources here are BAL QSOs in contrast to the original absorbed QSO sample which contained only 1 BAL QSO. From the work in Chapter 2, one might expect BAL and non–BAL QSOs to have similar flux–densities. We argue that the sources studied in this thesis have likely undergone rapid evolution owing to a strong outflow, and as such star formation has been suppressed sufficiently that the submm emission is below the confusion noise. BAL winds may still be present, but essentially, the show is already over. A similar mechanism may already have occurred in unabsorbed QSOs if all QSOs pass through an X–ray–absorbed phase. With regard to source counts, we find that there is tentative evidence for an overdensity of sources around these AGN. The SFRs of the companion sources have been calculated using several greybody analogues, all of which imply a high degree of activity, suggesting these fields will evolve to become some of the most massive regions at the present epoch, in keeping with current theories of SMGs and high–redshift clusters.