A search for the first massive galaxy clusters
We have obtained deep, multi-band imaging observations around three of the most distant known quasars at redshifts z > 6. Standard accretion theory predicts that the supermassive black holes present in these quasars were formed at a very early epoch. If a correlation between black hole mass and dark matter halo mass is present at these early times, then these rare supermassive black holes will be located inside the most massive dark matter halos. These are therefore ideal locations to search for the first clusters of galaxies. We use the Lyman-break technique to identify star-forming galaxies at high redshifts. Our observations show no overdensity of star-forming galaxies in the fields of these quasars. The lack of (dust-free) luminous starburst companions indicates that the quasars may be the only massive galaxies in their vicinity undergoing a period of intense activity.