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The impact of ionized outflows from z ∼ 2.5 quasars is not through instantaneous in situ quenching: the evidence from ALMA and VLT/SINFONI

Scholtz, J and Harrison, C M and Rosario, D J and Alexander, D M and Knudsen, K K and Stanley, F and Chen, Chian-Chou and Kakkad, D and Mainieri, V and Mullaney, J (2021) 'The impact of ionized outflows from z ∼ 2.5 quasars is not through instantaneous in situ quenching: the evidence from ALMA and VLT/SINFONI.', Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 505 (4). pp. 5469-5487.


We present high-resolution (∼2.4 kpc) ALMA band 7 observations (rest-frame λ ∼ 250 μm) of three powerful z ∼ 2.5 quasars (Lbol = 1047.3–1047.5 erg s−1). These targets have previously been reported as showing evidence for suppressed star formation based on cavities in the narrow H α emission at the location of outflows traced with [O III] emission. Here, we combine the ALMA observations with a re-analysis of the VLT/SINFONI data to map the rest-frame far-infrared emission, H α emission, and [O III] emission. In all targets, we observe high velocity [O III] gas (i.e. W80 ∼ 1000–2000 km s−1) across the whole galaxy. We do not identify any H α emission that is free from contamination from AGN-related processes; however, based on SED analyses, we show that the ALMA data contain a significant dust-obscured star formation component in two out of the three systems. This dust emission is found to be extended over ≈1.5–5.5 kpc in the nuclear regions, overlaps with the previously reported H α cavities and is co-spatial with the peak in surface brightness of the [O III] outflows. In summary, within the resolution and sensitivity limits of the data, we do not see any evidence for a instantaneous shut down of in situ star formation caused directly by the outflows. However, similar to the conclusions of previous studies and based on our measured star formation rates, we do not rule out that the global host galaxy star formation could be suppressed on longer time-scales by the cumulative effect of quasar episodes during the growth of these massive black holes.

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Publisher statement:This article has been accepted for publication in Monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. ©: 2021 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.
Date accepted:26 May 2021
Date deposited:16 November 2021
Date of first online publication:09 June 2021
Date first made open access:16 November 2021

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