The XMM-Newton Wide Field Survey in the COSMOS Field: Redshift Evolution of AGN Bias and Subdominant Role of Mergers in Triggering Moderate-luminosity AGNs at Redshifts up to 2.2

V. Allevato*, A. Finoguenov, N. Cappelluti, T. Miyaji, G. Hasinger, M. Salvato, M. Brusa, R. Gilli, G. Zamorani, F. Shankar, J. B. James, H. J. McCracken, A. Bongiorno, A. Merloni, J. A. Peacock, J. Silverman, A. Comastri

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We present a study of the redshift evolution of the projected correlation function of 593 X-ray selected active galactic nuclei (AGNs) with I-AB <23 and spectroscopic redshifts z <4, extracted from the 0.5-2 keV X-ray mosaic of the 2.13 deg(2) XMM-Cosmic Evolution Survey (COSMOS). We introduce a method to estimate the average bias of the AGN sample and the mass of AGN hosting halos, solving the sample variance using the halo model and taking into account the growth of the structure over time. We find evidence of a redshift evolution of the bias factor for the total population of XMM-COSMOS AGNs from (b) over bar((z) over bar = 0.92) = 2.30 +/- 0.11 to (b) over bar((z) over bar = 1.94) = 4.37 +/- 0.27 with an average mass of the hosting dark matter (DM) halos logM(0)(h(-1)M(circle dot)) similar to 13.12 +/- 0.12 that remains constant at all z <2. Splitting our sample into broad optical line AGNs (BL), AGNs without broad optical lines (NL), and X-ray unobscured and obscured AGNs, we observe an increase of the bias with redshift in the range (z) over bar = 0.7-2.25 and (z) over bar = 0.6-1.5 which corresponds to a constant halo mass of logM(0)(h(-1)M(circle dot)) similar to 13.28 +/- 0.07 and logM(0)(h(-1)M(circle dot)) similar to 13.00 +/- 0.06 for BL/X-ray unobscured AGNs and NL/ X-ray obscured AGNs, respectively. The theoretical models, which assume a quasar phase triggered by major mergers, cannot reproduce the high bias factors and DM halo masses found for X-ray selected BL AGNs with L-BOL similar to 2x10(45) erg s(-1). Our work extends up to z similar to 2.2 the z less than or similar to 1 statement that, for moderate-luminosity X-ray selected BL AGNs, the contribution from major mergers is outnumbered by other processes, possibly secular ones such as tidal disruptions or disk instabilities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number99
Number of pages15
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume736
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2011

Keywords

  • dark matter
  • galaxies: active
  • galaxies: evolution
  • large-scale structure of universe
  • quasars: general
  • surveys
  • ACTIVE GALACTIC NUCLEI
  • SUPERMASSIVE BLACK-HOLES
  • DARK-MATTER HALOES
  • RAY SELECTED AGN
  • SIMILAR-TO 1
  • SPATIAL CORRELATION-FUNCTION
  • CROSS-CORRELATION FUNCTION
  • HOST GALAXY MORPHOLOGIES
  • DIGITAL SKY SURVEY
  • X-RAY

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