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Title

A hard x-ray test of HCN enhancements as a tracer of embedded black hole growth

AuthorsPrivon, G. C.; Ricci, Claudio; Aalto, S.; Viti, Serena; Armus, L.; Díaz-Santos, T. ; González-Alfonso, E.; Iwasawa, Kazushi; Jeff, D. L.; Treister, E.; Bauer, F.; Evans, A. S.; Garg, P.; Herrero-Illana, Rubén ; Mazzarella, J. M.; Larson, K.; Blecha, L.; Barcos-Muñoz, L.; Charmandaris, V.; Stierwalt, S.; Pérez-Torres, Miguel A.
KeywordsMolecular gas
Active galactic nuclei
X-ray active galactic nuclei
Luminous infrared galaxies
Starburst galaxies
Issue Date24-Apr-2020
PublisherIOP Publishing
CitationAstrophysical Journal 893(2): 149 (2020)
AbstractEnhanced emission from the dense gas tracer HCN (relative to HCO+) has been proposed as a signature of active galactic nuclei (AGN). In a previous single-dish millimeter line survey we identified galaxies with HCN/HCO+ (1-0) intensity ratios consistent with those of many AGN but whose mid-infrared spectral diagnostics are consistent with little to no (≲15%) contribution of an AGN to the bolometric luminosity. To search for putative heavily obscured AGN, we present and analyze NuSTAR hard X-ray (3-79 keV) observations of four such galaxies from the Great Observatories All-sky LIRG Survey. We find no X-ray evidence for AGN in three of the systems and place strong upper limits on the energetic contribution of any heavily obscured (NH > 1024 cm-2) AGN to their bolometric luminosity. The upper limits on the X-ray flux are presently an order of magnitude below what XDR-driven chemistry models predict are necessary to drive HCN enhancements. In a fourth system we find a hard X-ray excess consistent with the presence of an AGN, but contributing only ∼3% of the bolometric luminosity. It is also unclear if the AGN is spatially associated with the HCN enhancement. We further explore the relationship between HCN/HCO+ (for several J upper levels) and LAGN/LIR f for a larger sample of systems in the literature. We find no evidence for correlations between the line ratios and the AGN fraction derived from X-rays, indicating that HCN/HCO+ intensity ratios are not driven by the energetic dominance of AGN, nor are they reliable indicators of ongoing supermassive black hole accretion. © 2020. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.3847/1538-4357/ab8015
URIhttp://hdl.handle.net/10261/213862
DOIhttp://dx.doi.org/10.3847/1538-4357/ab8015
ISSN0004-637X
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