Dust grain growth in the interstellar medium of 5 <z <6.5 quasars

M. J. Michałowski, E. J. Murphy, J. Hjorth, D. Watson, C. Gall, James Dunlop

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims: We investigate whether stellar dust sources i.e. asymptotic giant branch (AGB) stars and supernovae (SNe) can account for dust detected in 5 <z <6.5 quasars (QSOs). Methods: We calculate the required dust yields per AGB star and per SN using the dust masses of QSOs inferred from their millimeter emission and stellar masses approximated as the difference between the dynamical and the H2 gas masses of these objects. Results: We find that AGB stars are not efficient enough to form dust in the majority of the z > 5 QSOs, whereas SNe may be able to account for dust in some QSOs. However, they require very high dust yields even for a top-heavy initial mass function. Conclusions: This suggests additional non-stellar dust formation mechanism e.g. significant dust grain growth in the interstellar medium of at least three out of nine z > 5 QSOs. SNe (but not AGB stars) may deliver enough heavy elements to fuel this growth.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15
JournalAstronomy & Astrophysics
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2010


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