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Deep ALMA photometry of distant X-ray AGN: Improvements in star formation rate constraints, and AGN identification

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Christopher HarrisonORCiD



This is the final published version of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Oxford University Press, 2018.

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© 2018 The Author(s). We present the star formation rates (SFRs) of a sample of 109 galaxies with X-rayselected active galactic nuclei (AGNs) with moderate to high X-ray luminosities (L2-8 keV = 1042 - 1045 erg s-1), at redshifts 1 < z < 4.7, that were selected to be faint or undetected in the Herschel bands. We combine our deep Atacama large (sub-)millimetre array (ALMA) continuum observations with deblended 8-500 μm photometry from Spitzer and Herschel, and use infrared (IR) spectral energy distribution (SED) fitting and AGN - star formation decomposition methods. The addition of the ALMA photometry results in an order of magnitude more X-ray AGN in our sample with a measured SFR (now 37 %). The remaining 63 % of the sources have SFR upper limits that are typically a factor of 2-10 times lower than the pre-ALMA constraints. With the improved constraints on the IR SEDs, we can now identify a mid-IR (MIR) AGN component in 50%of our sample, compared to only ~1 %previously. We further explore the F870μm/F24μm-redshift plane as a tool for the identification of MIR-emitting AGN, for three different samples representing AGN-dominated, star formationdominated, and composite sources. We demonstrate that the F870μm/F24μm-redshift plane can successfully split between AGN and star formation-dominated sources, and can be used as an AGN identification method.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Stanley F, Harrison CM, Alexander DM, Simpson J, Knudsen KK, Mullaney JR, Rosario DJ, Scholtz J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Year: 2018

Volume: 478

Issue: 3

Pages: 3721-3739

Print publication date: 01/08/2018

Online publication date: 07/05/2018

Acceptance date: 23/04/2018

Date deposited: 04/02/2020

ISSN (print): 0035-8711

ISSN (electronic): 1365-2966

Publisher: Oxford University Press


DOI: 10.1093/mnras/sty1044


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