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  1. ABSTRACT We study the demographics of z ∼ 6 broad-line quasars in the black hole (BH) mass–luminosity plane using a sample of more than 100 quasars at 5.7 < z < 6.5. These quasars have well-quantified selection functions and nearly one-third of them also have virial BH masses estimated from near-IR spectroscopy. We use forward modelling of parametrized intrinsic distributions of BH masses and Eddington ratios, and account for the sample flux limits and measurement uncertainties of the BH masses and luminosities. We find significant differences between the intrinsic and observed distributions of the quantities due to measurement uncertainties and sample flux limits. There is also marginal evidence that the virial BH masses are susceptible to a positive luminosity-dependent bias (BH mass is overestimated when luminosity is above the average), and that the mean Eddington ratio increases with BH mass. Our models provide reliable constraints on the z ∼ 6 BH mass function at $M_{\rm BH}\gt 10^{8.5}\, M_\odot$, with a median 1σ uncertainty of ∼0.5 dex in abundance. The intrinsic Eddington ratio distribution of $M_{\rm BH}\gt 10^{8.5}\, M_\odot$ quasars can be approximated by a mass-dependent Schechter model, with a broad peak around log (Lbol/LEdd) ∼ −0.9. We also find that, atmore »4.5 ≲ z ≲ 6, the number densities of more massive BHs tend to decline more rapidly with increasing redshift, contrary to the trend at 2.5 ≲ z ≲ 4.5 reported previously.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 18, 2023
  2. ABSTRACT We introduce a probabilistic approach to select 6 ≤ $z$ ≤ 8 quasar candidates for spectroscopic follow-up, which is based on density estimation in the high-dimensional space inhabited by the optical and near-infrared photometry. Densities are modelled as Gaussian mixtures with principled accounting of errors using the extreme deconvolution (XD) technique, generalizing an approach successfully used to select lower redshift ($z$ ≤ 3) quasars. We train the probability density of contaminants on 1902 071 7-d flux measurements from the 1076 deg2 overlapping area from the Dark Energy Camera Legacy Survey (DECaLS) ($z$), VIKING (YJHKs), and unWISE (W1W2) imaging surveys, after requiring they dropout of DECaLS g and r, whereas the distribution of high-$z$ quasars are trained on synthetic model photometry. Extensive simulations based on these density distributions and current estimates of the quasar luminosity function indicate that this method achieves a completeness of $\ge 56{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ and an efficiency of $\ge 5{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ for selecting quasars at 6 < $z$ < 8 with JAB < 21.5. Among the classified sources are 8 known 6 < $z$ < 7 quasars, of which 2/8 are selected suggesting a completeness $\simeq 25{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$, whereas classifying the 6 knownmore »(JAB < 21.5) quasars at $z$ > 7 from the entire sky, we select 5/6 or a completeness of $\simeq 80{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$. The failure to select the majority of 6 < $z$ < 7 quasars arises because our quasar density model is based on an empirical quasar spectral energy distribution model that underestimates the scatter in the distribution of fluxes. This new approach to quasar selection paves the way for efficient spectroscopic follow-up of Euclid quasar candidates with ground-based telescopes and James Webb Space Telescope.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 4, 2023
  3. Abstract

    Cosmic reionization was the last major phase transition of hydrogen from neutral to highly ionized in the intergalactic medium (IGM). Current observations show that the IGM is significantly neutral atz> 7 and largely ionized byz∼ 5.5. However, most methods to measure the IGM neutral fraction are highly model dependent and are limited to when the volume-averaged neutral fraction of the IGM is either relatively low (x¯HI103) or close to unity (x¯HI1). In particular, the neutral fraction evolution of the IGM at the critical redshift range ofz= 6–7 is poorly constrained. We present new constraints onx¯HIatz∼ 5.1–6.8 by analyzing deep optical spectra of 53 quasars at 5.73 <z< 7.09. We derive model-independent upper limits on the neutral hydrogen fraction based on the fraction of “dark” pixels identified in the Lyαand Lyβforests, without any assumptions on the IGM model or the intrinsic shape of the quasar continuum. They are the first model-independent constraints on the IGM neutral hydrogen fraction atz∼ 6.2–6.8 using quasar absorption measurements. Our results give upper limits ofx¯more »mathvariant='normal'>HI(z=6.3)<0.79±0.04(1σ),x¯HI(z=6.5)<0.87±0.03(1σ), andx¯HI(z=6.7)<0.940.09+0.06(1σ). The dark pixel fractions atz> 6.1 are consistent with the redshift evolution of the neutral fraction of the IGM derived from Planck 2018.

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  4. Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2023
  5. Abstract We present a well-designed sample of more than 1000 type 1 quasars at 3.5 < z < 5 and derive UV quasar luminosity functions (QLFs) in this redshift range. These quasars were selected using the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) imaging data in the Stripe 82 and overlap regions with repeat imaging observations that are about 1 mag fainter than the SDSS single-epoch data. The follow-up spectroscopic observations were conducted by the SDSS-III Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS) as one of the BOSS ancillary programs. Reaching i ∼ 21.5 mag, our sample bridges previous samples from brighter and deeper surveys. We use a 1/ V a method to derive binned QLFs at 3.6 < z < 4.0, 4.0 < z < 4.5, and 4.5 < z < 4.9 and then use a double power-law model to parameterize the QLFs. We also combine our data with literature QLFs to better constrain the QLFs across a much wider luminosity baseline. The faint- and bright-end slopes of the QLFs in this redshift range are around −1.7 and −3.7, respectively, with uncertainties from 0.2 to 0.3 to >0.5. The evolution of the QLFs from z ∼ 5 to 3.5 can be described bymore »a pure density evolution model (∝10 kz ) with a parameter k similar to that at 5 < z < 7, suggesting a nearly uniform evolution of the quasar density at z = 3.5–7.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2023
  6. Abstract

    We present a mock catalog of gravitationally-lensed quasars atzqso< 7.5 with simulated images for the Rubin Observatory Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST). We adopt recent measurements of quasar-luminosity functions to model the quasar population, and use the CosmoDC2 mock galaxy catalog to model the deflector galaxies, which successfully reproduces the observed galaxy-velocity dispersion functions up tozd∼ 1.5. The mock catalog is highly complete for lensed quasars with Einstein radiusθE> 0.″07 and quasar absolute magnitudeMi< − 20. We estimate that there are ∼103lensed quasars discoverable in current imaging surveys, and LSST will increase this number to ∼ 2.4 × 103. Most of the lensed quasars have image separation Δθ> 0.″5, which will at least be marginally resolved in LSST images with seeing of ∼0.″7. There will be ∼200 quadruply-lensed quasars discoverable in the LSST. The fraction of quad lenses among all discoverable lensed quasars is about ∼10%–15%, and this fraction decreases with survey depth. This mock catalog shows a large diversity in the observational features of lensed quasars, in terms of lensing separation and quasar-to-deflector flux ratio. We discuss possible strategies for a complete search of lensed quasars in the LSST era.

  7. Abstract

    The observed lensed fraction of high-redshift quasars (∼0.2%) is significantly lower than previous theoretical predictions (≳4%). We revisit the lensed fraction of high-redshift quasars predicted by theoretical models, where we adopt recent measurements of galaxy velocity dispersion functions (VDFs) and explore a wide range of quasar luminosity function (QLF) parameters. We use both analytical methods and mock catalogs, which give consistent results. For ordinary QLF parameters and the depth of current high-redshift quasar surveys (mz≲ 22), our model suggests a multiply imaged fraction ofFmulti∼ 0.4%–0.8%. The predicted lensed fraction is ∼1%–6% for the brightestzs∼ 6 quasars (mz≲ 19), depending on the QLF. The systematic uncertainties of the predicted lensed fraction in previous models can be as large as 2–4 times and are dominated by the VDF. Applying VDFs from recent measurements decreases the predicted lensed fraction and relieves the tension between observations and theoretical models. Given the depth of current imaging surveys, there are ∼15 lensed quasars atzs> 5.5 detectable over the sky. Upcoming sky surveys like the Legacy Survey of Space and Time survey and the Euclid survey will find several tens of lensed quasars at this redshift range.

  8. Abstract Measuring the density of the intergalactic medium using quasar sight lines in the epoch of reionization is challenging due to the saturation of Ly α absorption. Near a luminous quasar, however, the enhanced radiation creates a proximity zone observable in the quasar spectra where the Ly α absorption is not saturated. In this study, we use 10 high-resolution ( R ≳ 10,000) z ∼ 6 quasar spectra from the extended XQR-30 sample to measure the density field in the quasar proximity zones. We find a variety of environments within 3 pMpc distance from the quasars. We compare the observed density cumulative distribution function (CDF) with models from the Cosmic Reionization on Computers simulation and find a good agreement between 1.5 and 3 pMpc from the quasar. This region is far away from the quasar hosts and hence approaching the mean density of the universe, which allows us to use the CDF to set constraints on the cosmological parameter σ 8 = 0.6 ± 0.3. The uncertainty is mainly due to the limited number of high-quality quasar sight lines currently available. Utilizing the more than 200 known quasars at z ≳ 6, this method will allow us to tighten themore »constraint on σ 8 to the percent level in the future. In the region closer to the quasar within 1.5 pMpc, we find that the density is higher than predicted in the simulation by 1.23 ± 0.17, suggesting that the typical host dark matter halo mass of a bright quasar ( M 1450 < −26.5) at z ∼ 6 is log 10 ( M h / M ⊙ ) = 12.5 − 0.7 + 0.4 .« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2023
  9. Abstract We report the first spatially resolved measurements of gas-phase metallicity radial gradients in star-forming galaxies in overdense environments at z ≳ 2. The spectroscopic data are acquired by the MAMMOTH-Grism survey, a Hubble Space Telescope (HST) cycle 28 medium program. This program is obtaining 45 orbits of WFC3/IR grism spectroscopy in the density peak regions of three massive galaxy protoclusters (BOSS 1244, BOSS 1542, and BOSS 1441) at z = 2–3. Our sample in the BOSS 1244 field consists of 20 galaxies with stellar mass ranging from 10 9.0 to 10 10.3 M ⊙ , star formation rate (SFR) from 10 to 240 M ⊙ yr −1 , and global gas-phase metallicity ( 12 + log ( O / H ) ) from 8.2 to 8.6. At 1 σ confidence level, 2/20 galaxies in our sample show positive (inverted) gradients—the relative abundance of oxygen increasing with galactocentric radius, opposite the usual trend. Furthermore, 1/20 shows negative gradients, and 17/20 are consistent with flat gradients. This high fraction of flat/inverted gradients is uncommon in simulations and previous observations conducted in blank fields at similar redshifts. To understand this, we investigate the correlations among various observed properties of our sample galaxies.more »We find an anticorrelation between metallicity gradient and global metallicity of our galaxies residing in extreme overdensities, and a marked deficiency of metallicity in our massive galaxies as compared to their coeval field counterparts. We conclude that the cold-mode gas accretion plays an active role in shaping the chemical evolution of galaxies in the protocluster environments, diluting their central chemical abundance, and flattening/inverting their metallicity gradients.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2023
  10. Abstract We present 0.″035 resolution (∼200 pc) imaging of the 158 μ m [C ii ] line and the underlying dust continuum of the z = 6.9 quasar J234833.34–305410.0. The 18 hour Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array observations reveal extremely compact emission (diameter ∼1 kpc) that is consistent with a simple, almost face-on, rotation–supported disk with a significant velocity dispersion of ∼160 km s −1 . The gas mass in just the central 200 pc is ∼4 × 10 9 M ⊙ , about a factor of two higher than that of the central supermassive black hole. Consequently we do not resolve the black hole’s sphere of influence, and find no kinematic signature of the central supermassive black hole. Kinematic modeling of the [C ii ] line shows that the dynamical mass at large radii is consistent with the gas mass, leaving little room for a significant mass contribution by stars and/or dark matter. The Toomre–Q parameter is less than unity throughout the disk, and thus is conducive to star formation, consistent with the high-infrared luminosity of the system. The dust in the central region is optically thick, at a temperature >132 K. Using standard scaling relations of dust heating bymore »star formation, this implies an unprecedented high star formation rate density of >10 4 M ⊙ yr −1 kpc −2 . Such a high number can still be explained with the Eddington limit for star formation under certain assumptions, but could also imply that the central supermassive black hole contributes to the heating of the dust in the central 200 pc.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 1, 2023