PhD Projects by Prof. Mathew Page

The growth of massive black holes over cosmic time

Prof. Mathew Page

All massive galaxies today contain supermassive black holes at their centres. The black holes grew by accreting material from their surroundings, shining as quasi-stellar objects (QSOs) and emitting copious X-rays as they did so. Their heyday was during the epoch of galaxy formation, when the Universe was about a third of its present age. Black holes are now a central part of the paradigm for galaxy formation, and are thought to have shaped their host galaxies through radiation, winds and relativistic outflows. The history of black hole growth is thus intimately connected to the evolution of our Universe. The aim of this project will be to investigate the build up of black holes over cosmic time through construction of X-ray luminosity functions of QSOs, using a new technique in which the X-ray energy band of interest tracks the redshift of the QSOs. The objective is to produce luminosity functions in a consistent rest-frame X-ray energy band over the majority of cosmic time. The project will make extensive use of the large range of X-ray surveys which have been carried out using the XMM-Newton and Chandra X-ray observatories. By fixing the X-ray energy band in the rest-frame, the need to model the redshift-dependence of X-ray absorption from material surrounding the black holes will be eliminated, so that the most reliable description of the history of black hole growth so far can be derived.

Deep X-ray Image Xray Luminosity Function