PRIMUS: Infrared and X-Ray AGN Selection Techniques at 0.2 < z < 1.2

Type Journal Article
Names Alexander J. Mendez, Alison L. Coil, James Aird, Aleksandar M. Diamond-Stanic, John Moustakas, Michael R. Blanton, Richard J. Cool, Daniel J. Eisenstein, Kenneth C. Wong, Guangtun Zhu
Publication The Astrophysical Journal
Volume 770
Pages 40
Journal Abbreviation The Astrophysical Journal
Date June 1, 2013
DOI 10.1088/0004-637X/770/1/40;
ISSN 0004-637X
Short Title PRIMUS
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Abstract We present a study of Spitzer/IRAC and X-ray active galactic nucleus (AGN) selection techniques in order to quantify the overlap, uniqueness, contamination, and completeness of each. We investigate how the overlap and possible contamination of the samples depend on the depth of both the IR and X-ray data. We use Spitzer/IRAC imaging, Chandra and XMM-Newton X-ray imaging, and spectroscopic redshifts from the PRism MUlti-object Survey to construct galaxy and AGN samples at 0.2 < z < 1.2 over 8 deg2. We construct samples over a wide range of IRAC flux limits (SWIRE to GOODS depth) and X-ray flux limits (10 ks to 2 Ms). We compare IR-AGN samples defined using both the IRAC color selection of Stern et al. and Donley et al. with X-ray-detected AGN samples. For roughly similar depth IR and X-ray surveys, we find that ~75% of IR-selected AGNs are also identified as X-ray AGNs. This fraction increases to ~90% when comparing against the deepest X-ray data, indicating that at most ~10% of IR-selected AGNs may be heavily obscured. The IR-AGN selection proposed by Stern et al. suffers from contamination by star-forming galaxies at various redshifts when using deeper IR data, though the selection technique works well for shallow IR data. While similar overall, the IR-AGN samples preferentially contain more luminous AGNs, while the X-ray AGN samples identify a wider range of AGN accretion rates including low specific accretion rate AGNs, where the host galaxy light dominates at IR wavelengths. The host galaxy populations of the IR and X-ray AGN samples have similar rest-frame colors and stellar masses; both selections identify AGNs in blue, star-forming and red, quiescent galaxies.
Tags GALAXIES: EVOLUTION, X-rays: galaxies, galaxies: active, infrared: galaxies
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