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Title: Characterizing Compact 15–33 GHz Radio Continuum Sources in Local U/LIRGs

We present the analysis of ∼100 pc scale compact radio continuum sources detected in 63 local (ultra)luminous infrared galaxies (U/LIRGs;LIR≥ 1011L), using FWHM ≲ 0.″1–0.″2 resolution 15 and 33 GHz observations with the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array. We identify a total of 133 compact radio sources with effective radii of 8–170 pc, which are classified into four main categories—“AGN” (active galactic nuclei), “AGN/SBnuc” (AGN-starburst composite nucleus), “SBnuc” (starburst nucleus), and “SF” (star-forming clumps)—based on ancillary data sets and the literature. We find that “AGN” and “AGN/SBnuc” more frequently occur in late-stage mergers and have up to 3 dex higher 33 GHz luminosities and surface densities compared with “SBnuc” and “SF,” which may be attributed to extreme nuclear starburst and/or AGN activity in the former. Star formation rates (SFRs) and surface densities (ΣSFR) are measured for “SF” and “SBnuc” using both the total 33 GHz continuum emission (SFR ∼ 0.14–13Myr−1, ΣSFR∼ 13–1600Myr−1kpc−2) and the thermal free–free emission from Hiiregions (median SFRth∼ 0.4Myr−1,ΣSFRth44Myr−1kpc−2). These values are 1–2 dex higher than those measured for similar-sized clumps in nearby normal (non-U/LIRGs). The latter also have a much flatter median 15–33 GHz spectral index (∼−0.08) compared with “SBnuc” and “SF” (∼−0.46), which may reflect higher nonthermal contribution from supernovae and/or interstellar medium densities in local U/LIRGs that directly result from and/or lead to their extreme star-forming activities on 100 pc scales.

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DOI PREFIX: 10.3847
Date Published:
Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal
Medium: X Size: Article No. 52
["Article No. 52"]
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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