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    We study the optical variability of a sample of candidate low-mass (dwarf and Seyfert) active galactic nuclei (AGNs) using Zwicky Transient Facility g-band light curves. Our sample is compiled from broad-line AGNs in dwarf galaxies reported in the literature with single-epoch virial black hole (BH) masses in the range MBH ∼ 104–108 M⊙. We measure the characteristic ‘damping’ time-scale of the optical variability τDRW, beyond which the power spectral density flattens, of a final sample of 79 candidate low-mass AGNs with high-quality light curves. Our results provide further confirmation of the MBH–τDRW relation from previous work within 1σ agreement, adding 78 new low-mass AGNs to the relation. The agreement suggests that the virial BH mass estimates for these AGNs are generally reasonable. We expect that the optical light curve of an accreting intermediate-mass black hole (IMBH) to vary with a rest-frame damping time-scale of ∼tens of hours, which could enable detection and direct mass estimation of accreting IMBHs in wide-field time-domain imaging surveys with sufficient cadence like with the Vera C. Rubin Observatory.


    Multi-band photometric observations of 11 totally eclipsing contact binaries were carried out. Applying the Wilson–Devinney program, photometric solutions were obtained. There are two W-subtype systems, which are CRTS J133031.1+161202 and CRTS J154254.0+324652, and the rest of the systems are A-subtype systems. CRTS J154254.0 + 324652 has the highest fill-out factor with 94.3 per cent, and the lowest object is CRTS J155009.2 + 493639 with only 18.9 per cent. The mass ratios of the 11 systems are all less than 0.1, which means that they are extremely low-mass ratio binary systems. We performed period variation investigation and found that the orbital periods of three systems decrease slowly, which may be caused by the angular momentum loss, and those of six systems increase slowly, which indicates that the materials may transfer from the secondary component to the primary component. LAMOST low-resolution spectra of four objects were analysed, and using the spectral subtraction technique, Hα emission line was detected, which means that the four objects exhibit chromospheric activity. In order to understand their evolutionary status, the mass–luminosity and mass–radius diagrams were plotted. The two diagrams indicate that the primary component is in the main sequence evolution stage, and the secondary component is above TAMS, indicating thatmore »they are over-luminous. To determine whether the 11 systems are in a stable state, the ratio of spin angular momentum to orbital angular momentum (Js/Jo) and the instability parameters were calculated, and we argued that CRTS J234634.7 + 222824 is on the verge of a merger.

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  3. Abstract

    Dual active galactic nuclei (AGNs), which are the manifestation of two actively accreting supermassive black holes (SMBHs) hosted by a pair of merging galaxies, are a unique laboratory for studying the physics of SMBH feeding and feedback during an indispensable stage of galaxy evolution. In this work, we present NOEMA CO(2–1) observations of seven kiloparsec-scale dual-AGN candidates drawn from a recent Chandra survey of low redshift, optically classified AGN pairs. These systems are selected because they show unexpectedly low 2–10 keV X-ray luminosities for their small physical separations signifying an intermediate-to-late stage of merger. Circumnuclear molecular gas traced by the CO(2–1) emission is significantly detected in six of the seven pairs and 10 of the 14 nuclei, with an estimated mass ranging between (0.2–21) × 109M. The primary nuclei, i.e., the ones with the higher stellar velocity dispersion, tend to have a higher molecular gas mass than the secondary. Most CO-detected nuclei show a compact morphology, with a velocity field consistent with a kiloparsec-scale rotating structure. The inferred hydrogen column densities range between 5 × 1021–2 × 1023cm−2, but mostly at a few times 1022cm−2, in broad agreement with those derived from X-ray spectral analysis. Together with the relativelymore »weak mid-infrared emission, the moderate column density argues against the prevalence of heavily obscured, intrinsically luminous AGNs in these seven systems, but favors a feedback scenario in which AGN activity triggered by a recent pericentric passage of the galaxy pair can expel circumnuclear gas and suppress further SMBH accretion.

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    Supermassive black holes (SMBHs) are commonly found at the centres of most massive galaxies. Measuring SMBH mass is crucial for understanding the origin and evolution of SMBHs. Traditional approaches, on the other hand, necessitate the collection of spectroscopic data, which is costly. We present an algorithm that weighs SMBHs using quasar light time series information, including colours, multiband magnitudes, and the variability of the light curves, circumventing the need for expensive spectra. We train, validate, and test neural networks that directly learn from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) Stripe 82 light curves for a sample of 38 939 spectroscopically confirmed quasars to map out the non-linear encoding between SMBH mass and multiband optical light curves. We find a 1σ scatter of 0.37 dex between the predicted SMBH mass and the fiducial virial mass estimate based on SDSS single-epoch spectra, which is comparable to the systematic uncertainty in the virial mass estimate. Our results have direct implications for more efficient applications with future observations from the Vera C. Rubin Observatory. Our code, AGNet, is publicly available at

  5. Abstract

    The statistics of galactic-scale quasar pairs can elucidate our understanding of the dynamical evolution of supermassive black hole (SMBH) pairs, the duty cycles of quasar activity in mergers, or even the nature of dark matter, but they have been challenging to measure at cosmic noon, the prime epoch of massive galaxy and SMBH formation. Here we measure a double quasar fraction of ∼6.2 ± 0.5 × 10−4integrated over ∼0.″3–3″ separations (projected physical separations of ∼3–30 kpc atz∼ 2) in luminous (Lbol> 1045.8erg s−1) unobscured quasars at 1.5 <z< 3.5 using Gaia EDR3-resolved pairs around SDSS DR16 quasars. The measurement was based on a sample of 60 Gaia-resolved double quasars (out of 487 Gaia pairs dominated by quasar+star superpositions) at these separations, corrected for pair completeness in Gaia, which we quantify as functions of pair separation, magnitude of the primary, and magnitude contrast. The double quasar fraction increases toward smaller separations by a factor of ∼5 over these scales. The division between physical quasar pairs and lensed quasars in our sample is currently unknown, requiring dedicated follow-up observations (in particular, deep, subarcsecond-resolution IR imaging for the closest pairs). Intriguingly, at this point, the observed pair statistics are in rough agreementmore »with theoretical predictions both for the lensed quasar population in mock catalogs and for dual quasars in cosmological hydrodynamic simulations. Upcoming wide-field imaging/spectroscopic space missions such as Euclid, CSST, and Roman, combined with targeted follow-up observations, will conclusively measure the abundances and host galaxy properties of galactic-scale quasar pairs, offset AGNs, and subarcsecond lensed quasars across cosmic time.

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  6. Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 1, 2023
  7. This paper presents a model-free reinforcement learning (RL) algorithm for infinite-horizon average-reward Constrained Markov Decision Processes (CMDPs). Considering a learning horizon K, which is sufficiently large, the proposed algorithm achieves sublinear regret and zero constraint violation. The bounds depend on the number of states S, the number of actions A, and two constants which are independent of the learning horizon K.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 30, 2023
  8. Abstract Human cortical organoids, three-dimensional neuronal cultures, are emerging as powerful tools to study brain development and dysfunction. However, whether organoids can functionally connect to a sensory network in vivo has yet to be demonstrated. Here, we combine transparent microelectrode arrays and two-photon imaging for longitudinal, multimodal monitoring of human cortical organoids transplanted into the retrosplenial cortex of adult mice. Two-photon imaging shows vascularization of the transplanted organoid. Visual stimuli evoke electrophysiological responses in the organoid, matching the responses from the surrounding cortex. Increases in multi-unit activity (MUA) and gamma power and phase locking of stimulus-evoked MUA with slow oscillations indicate functional integration between the organoid and the host brain. Immunostaining confirms the presence of human-mouse synapses. Implantation of transparent microelectrodes with organoids serves as a versatile in vivo platform for comprehensive evaluation of the development, maturation, and functional integration of human neuronal networks within the mouse brain.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2023
  9. The past decade witnessed rapid development in the measurement and monitoring technologies for food science. Among these technologies, spectroscopy has been widely used for the analysis of food quality, safety, and nutritional properties. Due to the complexity of food systems and the lack of comprehensive predictive models, rapid and simple measurements to predict complex properties in food systems are largely missing. Machine Learning (ML) has shown great potential to improve the classification and prediction of these properties. However, the barriers to collecting large datasets for ML applications still persists. In this paper, we explore different approaches of data annotation and model training to improve data efficiency for ML applications. Specifically, we leverage Active Learning (AL) and Semi-Supervised Learning (SSL) and investigate four approaches: baseline passive learning, AL, SSL, and a hybrid of AL and SSL. To evaluate these approaches, we collect two spectroscopy datasets: predicting plasma dosage and detecting foodborne pathogen. Our experimental results show that, compared to the de facto passive learning approach, advanced approaches (AL, SSL, and the hybrid) can greatly reduce the number of labeled samples, with some cases decreasing the number of labeled samples by more than half.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 22, 2023
  10. Abstract

    Kiloparsec-scale triple active galactic nuclei (AGNs), potential precursors of gravitationally bound triple massive black holes (MBHs), are rarely seen objects and believed to play an important role in the evolution of MBHs and their host galaxies. In this work we present a multiband (3.0, 6.0, 10.0, and 15.0 GHz), high-resolution radio imaging of the triple AGN candidate, SDSS J0849+1114, using the Very Large Array. Two of the three nuclei (A and C) are detected at 3.0, 6.0, and 15 GHz for the first time, both exhibiting a steep spectrum over 3–15 GHz (with a spectral index −0.90 ± 0.05 and −1.03 ± 0.04) consistent with a synchrotron origin. Nucleus A, the strongest nucleus among the three, shows a double-sided jet, with the jet orientation changing by ∼20° between its inner 1″ and the outer 5.″5 (8.1 kpc) components, which may be explained as the MBH’s angular momentum having been altered by merger-enhanced accretion. Nucleus C also shows a two-sided jet, with the western jet inflating into a radio lobe with an extent of 1.″5 (2.2 kpc). The internal energy of the radio lobe is estimated to be 5.0 × 1055erg, for an equipartition magnetic field strength of ∼160μG. Nomore »significant radio emission is detected at all four frequencies for nucleus B, yielding an upper limit of 15, 15, 15, and 18μJy beam−1at 3.0, 6.0, 10.0, and 15.0 GHz, based on which we constrain the star formation rate in nucleus B to be ≲0.4Myr−1.

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