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The evolution of the hard X-ray luminosity function of AGN

Aird, J. and Nandra, K. and Laird, E. S. and Georgakakis, A. and Ashby, M. L. N. and Barmby, P. and Coil, A. L. and Huang, J.-S. and Koekemoer, A. M. and Steidel, C. C. and Willmer, C. N. A. (2010) The evolution of the hard X-ray luminosity function of AGN. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 401 (4). pp. 2531-2551. ISSN 0035-8711.

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We present new observational determinations of the evolution of the 2–10 keV X-ray luminosity function (XLF) of active galactic nuclei (AGN). We utilize data from a number of surveys including both the 2 Ms Chandra Deep Fields and the AEGIS-X 200 ks survey, enabling accurate measurements of the evolution of the faint end of the XLF. We combine direct, hard X-ray selection and spectroscopic follow-up or photometric redshift estimates at z < 1.2 with a rest-frame UV colour pre-selection approach at higher redshifts to avoid biases associated with catastrophic failure of the photometric redshifts. Only robust optical counterparts to X-ray sources are considered using a likelihood ratio matching technique. A Bayesian methodology is developed that considers redshift probability distributions, incorporates selection functions for our high-redshift samples and allows robust comparison of different evolutionary models. We statistically account for X-ray sources without optical counterparts to correct for incompleteness in our samples. We also account for Poissonian effects on the X-ray flux estimates and sensitivities and thus correct for the Eddington bias. We find that the XLF retains the same shape at all redshifts, but undergoes strong luminosity evolution out to z ~ 1 , and an overall negative density evolution with increasing redshift, which thus dominates the evolution at earlier times. We do not find evidence that a luminosity-dependent density evolution, and the associated flattening of the faint-end slope, is required to describe the evolution of the XLF. We find significantly higher space densities of low-luminosity, high-redshift AGN than in prior studies, and a smaller shift in the peak of the number density to lower redshifts with decreasing luminosity. The total luminosity density of AGN peaks at z= 1.2 ± 0.1 , but there is a mild decline to higher redshifts. We find that >50 per cent of black hole growth takes place at z > 1 , with around half in L_X < 10^(44) erg s^(−1) AGN.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Aird, J.0000-0003-1908-8463
Nandra, K.0000-0002-7150-9192
Ashby, M. L. N.0000-0002-3993-0745
Barmby, P.0000-0003-2767-0090
Koekemoer, A. M.0000-0002-6610-2048
Steidel, C. C.0000-0002-4834-7260
Additional Information:© 2010 RAS. Accepted 2009 October 5. Received 2009 September 3; in original form 2009 April 29. We acknowledge financial support from STFC (JA, ESL). Some observations reported here were obtained at the MMT Observatory, a joint facility of the Smithsonian Institution and the University of Arizona. Also based in part on observations obtained with MegaPrime/MegaCam, a joint project of CFHT and CEA/DAPNIA, at the CFHT which is operated by the National Research Council (NRC) of Canada, the Institut National des Sciences de l’Univers of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) of France and the University of Hawaii. This work is based in part on data products produced at TERAPIX and the Canadian Astronomy Data Centre as part of the CFHTLS, a collaborative project of NRC and CNRS.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)UNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:galaxies: active; galaxies: evolution; galaxies: luminosity function, mass function; X-rays: galaxies
Issue or Number:4
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20100218-101337738
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:17514
Deposited By: Jason Perez
Deposited On:19 Feb 2010 18:15
Last Modified:10 Dec 2019 22:33

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