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  1. ABSTRACT

    The attenuation of Lyα photons by neutral hydrogen in the intergalactic medium (IGM) at z ≳ 5 continues to be a powerful probe for studying the epoch of reionization. Given a framework to estimate the intrinsic (true) Lyα emission of high-z sources, one can infer the ionization state of the IGM during reionization. In this work, we use the enlarged XQR-30 sample of 42 high-resolution and high signal-to-noise quasar spectra between $5.8\lesssim \, z\lesssim \, 6.6$ obtained with VLT/X-shooter to place constraints on the IGM neutral fraction. This is achieved using our existing Bayesian QSO reconstruction framework which accounts for uncertainties such as the: (i) posterior distribution of predicted intrinsic Lyα emission profiles (obtained via covariance matrix reconstruction of the Lyα and N v emission lines from unattenuated high-ionization emission line profiles; C iv, Si iv  + O iv], and C iii]) and (ii) distribution of ionized regions within the IGM using synthetic damping wing profiles drawn from a 1.63 Gpc3 reionization simulation. Following careful quality control, we used 23 of the 42 available QSOs to obtain constraints/limits on the IGM neutral fraction during the tail-end of reionization. Our median and 68th percentile constraints on the IGM neutral fraction are: $0.20\substack{+0.14 -0.12}$ and $0.29\substack{+0.14 -0.13}$ at z = 6.15 and 6.35. Further, we also report 68th percentile upper limits of $\bar{x}_{\mathrm{H\, {\small I}}{}} \lt 0.21$, 0.20, 0.21, and 0.18 at z = 5.8, 5.95, 6.05, and 6.55. These results imply reionization is still ongoing at $5.8\lesssim \, z\lesssim \, 6.55$, consistent with previous results from XQR-30 (dark fraction and Lyα forest) along with other observational probes considered in the literature.

     
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  2. ABSTRACT

    Intervening metal absorption lines in the spectra of z ≳ 6 quasars are fundamental probes of the ionization state and chemical composition of circumgalactic and intergalactic gas near the end of the reionization epoch. Large absorber samples are required to robustly measure typical absorber properties and to refine models of the synthesis, transport, and ionization of metals in the early Universe. The Ultimate XSHOOTER legacy survey of quasars at z ∼ 5.8–6.6 (XQR-30) has obtained high signal-to-noise spectra of 30 luminous quasars, nearly quadrupling the existing sample of 12 high quality z ∼ 6 quasar spectra. We use this unprecedented sample to construct a catalogue of 778 systems showing absorption in one or more of Mg ii (360 systems), Fe ii (184), C ii (46), C iv (479), Si iv (127), and N v (13) which span 2 ≲ z ≲ 6.5. This catalogue significantly expands on existing samples of z ≳ 5 absorbers, especially for C iv and Si iv which are important probes of the ionizing photon background at high redshift. The sample is 50 per cent (90 per cent) complete for rest-frame equivalent widths W ≳ 0.03 Å (0.09 Å). We publicly release the absorber catalogue along with completeness statistics and a python script to compute the absorption search path for different ions and redshift ranges. This data set is a key legacy resource for studies of enriched gas from the era of galaxy assembly to cosmic noon, and paves the way for even higher redshift studies with JWST and 30 m-class telescopes.

     
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