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Spectrally Resolving High Redshift Dual AGNs with the Line Emission Mapper (LEM)

Presentation #110.27 in the session LEM.

Published onJul 01, 2023
Spectrally Resolving High Redshift Dual AGNs with the Line Emission Mapper (LEM)

The Line Emission Mapper (LEM) is an X-ray Probe-class Mission concept which combines 1-2 eV spectral resolution in the soft X-ray band (0.2-2 keV) with an effective area of ~2600 cm2 at 1 keV, and 10’’ HPD over a large 30’x30’ field of view. The mission will directly address the Astro2020 Decadal Report’s Priority Area of Unveiling the Drivers of Galaxy Growth through the study of merging galaxies, which offer one of the most dramatic channels for galaxy growth and evolution and can potentially trigger both star formation and supermassive black hole (SMBH) growth. Dual and binary AGNs in late-stage mergers are predicted to be a critical stage of merger-induced SMBH growth and coincide with the most transformative period for the host galaxies. Thus, dual and binary AGNs represent ideal laboratories for studying examples of SMBH-galaxy co-evolution. Recent discoveries of dual AGNs at redshifts of z≥2 have been made via optical observations, but such dual AGNs are inaccessible to current X-ray observatories due to a lack of instrumental capabilities, including sensitivity, spectral and spatial resolution. LEM will be uniquely suited to study AGNs at z > 3, where the intrinsic X-ray power law continuum and Iron Kα emission line - a nearly ubiquitous signpost for AGN accretion – are redshifted into the LEM bandpass. In this poster, we present a simulation-based study on LEM’s ability to discern dual, binary, and/or clustered AGNs at high redshift. We demonstrate the unique capabilities of LEM to spectrally resolve Iron Kα lines emitted by distinct AGNs with sufficient line-of-sight velocity differences, even in cases of convolved point sources. Using a suite of simulations probing a range of velocity differences, line strengths, and column densities, we demonstrate LEM’s ability to constrain the spectral properties of dual AGNs at z>3 for a variety of physically realistic pairings. LEM will uniquely provide crucial constraints on dual AGN environments and activity as a function of redshift and will complement optical and infrared observations from upcoming Extremely Large Telescopes.

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