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    We present a comprehensive study of the molecular gas properties of 17 Type 2 quasars at z < 0.2 from the Quasar Feedback Survey (L$_{\rm [O~{\small III}]}$ > 1042.1 $\rm ergs^{-1}$), selected by their high [O iii] luminosities and displaying a large diversity of radio jet properties, but dominated by LIRG-like galaxies. With these data, we are able to investigate the impact of AGN and AGN feedback mechanisms on the global molecular interstellar medium. Using Atacama Pathfinder EXperiment and ALMA ACA observations, we measure the total molecular gas content using the CO(1-0) emission and homogeneously sample the carbon monoxide (CO) spectral line energy distributions, observing CO transitions (Jup  = 1, 2, 3, 6, 7). We observe high r21 ratios (r21  = L’CO(2-1)/L’CO(1-0)) with a median r21  = 1.06, similar to local (U)LIRGs (with r21 ∼ 1) and higher than normal star-forming galaxies (with r21 ∼ 0.65). Despite the high r21 values, for the seven targets with the required data, we find low excitation in CO(6-5) & CO(7-6) (r61 and r62 < 0.6 in all but one target), unlike high-redshift quasars in the literature, which are far more luminous and show higher line ratios. The ionized gas traced by [O iii] exhibits systematically higher velocities than the molecular gas traced by CO. We conclude that any effects of quasar feedback (e.g. via outflows and radio jets) do not have a significant instantaneous impact on the global molecular gas content and excitation and we suggest that it only occurs on more localized scales.

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    We present a study of molecular gas, traced via CO (3–2) from Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array data, of four z < 0.2, ‘radio quiet’, type 2 quasars (Lbol ∼ 1045.3–1046.2 erg s−1; L$_{\mathrm{1.4\, GHz}}\sim 10^{23.7}\!-\!10^{24.3}$ W Hz−1). Targets were selected to have extended radio lobes (≥ 10 kpc), and compact, moderate-power jets (1–10 kpc; Pjet ∼ 1043.2–1043.7 erg s−1). All targets show evidence of central molecular outflows, or injected turbulence, within the gas discs (traced via high-velocity wing components in CO emission-line profiles). The inferred velocities (Vout = 250–440 km s−1) and spatial scales (0.6–1.6 kpc), are consistent with those of other samples of luminous low-redshift active galactic nuclei. In two targets, we observe extended molecular gas structures beyond the central discs, containing 9–53  per cent of the total molecular gas mass. These structures tend to be elongated, extending from the core, and wrap-around (or along) the radio lobes. Their properties are similar to the molecular gas filaments observed around radio lobes of, mostly ‘radio loud’, brightest cluster galaxies. They have the following: projected distances of 5–13 kpc; bulk velocities of 100–340 km s−1; velocity dispersion of 30–130 km s−1; inferred mass outflow rates of 4–20 M⊙ yr−1; and estimated kinetic powers of 1040.3–1041.7 erg s−1. Our observations are consistent with simulations that suggest moderate-power jets can have a direct (but modest) impact on molecular gas on small scales, through direct jet–cloud interactions. Then, on larger scales, jet-cocoons can push gas aside. Both processes could contribute to the long-term regulation of star formation.

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    Recent studies have suggested that red quasars are a phase in quasar evolution when feedback from black hole accretion evacuates obscuring gas from the nucleus of the host galaxy. Here, we report a direct link between dust-reddening and molecular outflows in quasars at z ∼ 2.5. By examining the dynamics of warm molecular gas in the inner region of galaxies, we find evidence for outflows with velocities 500–1000 km s−1 and time-scales of ≈0.1 Myr that are due to ongoing quasar energy output. We infer outflows only in systems where quasar radiation pressure on dust in the vicinity of the black hole is sufficiently large to expel their obscuring gas column densities. This result is in agreement with theoretical models that predict radiative feedback regulates gas in the nuclear regions of galaxies and is a major driving mechanism of galactic-scale outflows of cold gas. Our findings suggest that radiative quasar feedback ejects star-forming gas from within nascent stellar bulges at velocities comparable to those seen on larger scales, and that molecules survive in outflows even from the most luminous quasars.

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