The Search for AGN in Dusty Star Forming Hosts

The bulk of the stellar growth over cosmic time is dominated by IR luminous galaxies at cosmic noon (z=1-2), many of which harbor a hidden active galactic nucleus (AGN). I use state of the art infrared color diagnostics, combining Spitzer and Herschel observations, to separate dust-obscured AGN from dusty star forming galaxies (SFGs) in the CANDELS and COSMOS surveys. I calculate 24 micron counts of SFGs, AGN/star forming "Composites", and AGN. AGN and Composites dominate the counts above 0.8 mJy at 24 micron, and Composites form at least 25% of an IR sample even to faint detection limits. I develop methods to use the Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) on JWST to identify dust-obscured AGN and Composite galaxies from z~1-2. I demonstrate that MIRI color techniques can select AGN with lower Eddington ratios and higher specific SFRs than X-ray techniques alone. JWST/MIRI will enable critical steps forward in identifying and understanding dust-obscured AGN and the link to their host galaxies.

More Events »