Circumnuclear Regions and their Barred Host Galaxies
In this paper we present first results from an observational study of the connection between the global parameters of barred galaxies and the appearance of structures, such as dust lanes and star-forming rings in their circumnuclear regions. We combine near-infrared imaging of the central small-scale core structure with optical imaging of the large-scale discs of these barred galaxies. We present more detailed studies of two of our sample galaxies, NGC1530 and NGC 3504, for which we relate the presence and morphology of dust lanes (with different curvature radii) to the strength of the bar. A relation where strong bars lead to straight dust lanes and ovals or weak bars to curved dust lanes is expected theoretically and is borne out by our preliminary imaging results.