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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 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
  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2023
  4. Abstract We report deep Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) observations of the optically ultraluminous and radio-quiet quasar SDSS J010013.02+280225.8 (hereafter J0100+2802) at redshift z = 6.3. We detected the radio continuum emission at 1.5 GHz, 6 GHz, and 10 GHz. This leads to a radio power-law spectral index of α = −0.52 ± 0.18 ( S ∝ ν α ). The radio source is unresolved in all VLA bands with an upper limit to the size of 0.″2 (i.e., ∼1.1 kpc) at 10 GHz. We find variability in the flux density (increase by ∼33%) and the spectral index (steepened) between observations in 2016 and 2017. We also find that the VLA 1.5 GHz flux density observed in the same year is 1.5 times that detected with the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) in 2016 at the same frequency. This difference suggests that half of the radio emission from J0100+2802 comes from a compact core within 40 pc, and the rest comes from the surrounding few-kiloparsec area, which is diffuse and resolved out in the VLBA observations. The diffuse emission is 4 times brighter than what would be expected if driven by star formation. We conclude that the centralmore »active galactic nucleus is the dominant power engine of the radio emission in J0100+2802.« less
  5. Abstract

    Broad-line regions (BLRs) in high-redshift quasars provide crucial information on chemical enrichment in the early universe. Here we present a study of BLR metallicities in 33 quasars at redshift 5.7 <z< 6.4. Using the near-IR spectra of the quasars obtained from the Gemini telescope, we measure their rest-frame UV emission-line flux and calculate flux ratios. We then estimate BLR metallicities with empirical calibrations based on photoionization models. The inferred median metallicity of our sample is a few times the solar value, indicating that the BLR gas had been highly metal enriched atz∼ 6. We compare our sample with a low-redshift quasar sample with similar luminosities and find no evidence of redshift evolution in quasar BLR metallicities. This is consistent with previous studies. The Feii/Mgiiflux ratio, a proxy for the Fe/αelement abundance ratio, shows no redshift evolution as well, further supporting rapid nuclear star formation atz∼ 6. We also find that the black hole mass–BLR metallicity relation atz∼ 6 is consistent with the relation measured at 2 <z< 5, suggesting that our results are not biased by a selection effect due to this relation.

  6. Abstract We report the results of near-infrared spectroscopic observations of 37 quasars in the redshift range 6.3 < z ≤ 7.64, including 32 quasars at z > 6.5, forming the largest quasar near-infrared spectral sample at this redshift. The spectra, taken with Keck, Gemini, VLT, and Magellan, allow investigations of central black hole mass and quasar rest-frame ultraviolet spectral properties. The black hole masses derived from the Mg ii emission lines are in the range (0.3–3.6) × 10 9 M ⊙ , which requires massive seed black holes with masses ≳10 3 –10 4 M ⊙ , assuming Eddington accretion since z = 30. The Eddington ratio distribution peaks at λ Edd ∼ 0.8 and has a mean of 1.08, suggesting high accretion rates for these quasars. The C iv –Mg ii emission-line velocity differences in our sample show an increase of C iv blueshift toward higher redshift, but the evolutionary trend observed from this sample is weaker than the previous results from smaller samples at similar redshift. The Fe ii /Mg ii flux ratios derived for these quasars up to z = 7.6, compared with previous measurements at different redshifts, do not show any evidence of strong redshift evolution,more »suggesting metal-enriched environments in these quasars. Using this quasar sample, we create a quasar composite spectrum for z > 6.5 quasars and find no significant redshift evolution of quasar broad emission lines and continuum slope, except for a blueshift of the C iv line. Our sample yields a strong broad absorption line quasar fraction of ∼24%, higher than the fractions in lower-redshift quasar samples, although this could be affected by small sample statistics and selection effects.« less