The XMM-Newton Wide Angle Survey (XWAS): the X-ray spectrum of type-1 AGN
Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester, UK e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 Instituto de Física de Cantabria (CSIC-UC), 39005 Santander, Spain
3 AA, Mullard Space Science Laboratory, University College London, Holmbury St Mary, Dorking, Surrey RH5 6NT, UK
4 INAF – Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera, via Brera 28, 20121 Milan, Italy
5 SRON – Netherlands Institute for Space Research, Sorbonnelaan 2, 3584 CA, Utrecht, The Netherlands
6 University of California, San Diego, Center for Astrophysics & Space Sciences, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093-0424, USA
7 Astrophysikalisches Institut Potsdam, An der Sternwarte 16, 14482 Potsdam, Germany
Accepted: 11 December 2009
Aims. We discuss the broad band X-ray properties of one of the largest samples of X-ray selected type-1 AGN to date (487 objects in total), drawn from the XMM-Newton Wide Angle Survey (XWAS). The objects presented in this work cover 2-10 keV (rest-frame) luminosities from ~1042-1045 erg s-1 and are detected up to redshift ~4. We constrain the overall properties of the broad band continuum, soft excess and X-ray absorption, along with their dependence on the X-ray luminosity and redshift. We discuss the implications for models of AGN emission.
Methods. We fitted the observed 0.2-12 keV broad band spectra with various models to search for X-ray absorption and soft excess. The F-test was used with a significance threshold of 99% to statistically accept the detection of additional spectral components.
Results. We constrained the mean spectral index of the broad band X-ray continuum to Γ = 1.96 ± 0.02 with intrinsic dispersion = . The continuum becomes harder at faint fluxes and at higher redshifts and hard (2-10 keV) luminosities. The dependence of Γ with flux is likely due to undetected absorption rather than to spectral variation. We found a strong dependence of the detection efficiency of objects on the spectral shape. We expect this effect to have an impact on the measured mean continuum shapes of sources at different redshifts and luminosities. We detected excess absorption in 3% of our objects, with rest-frame column densities ~a few 1022 cm-2. The apparent mismatch between the optical classification and X-ray properties of these objects is a challenge for the standard orientation-based AGN unification model. We found that the fraction of objects with detected soft excess is ~36%. Using a thermal model, we constrained the soft excess mean rest-frame temperature and intrinsic dispersion to kT ~ 100 eV and ~ 34 eV. The origin of the soft excess as thermal emission from the accretion disk or Compton scattered disk emission is ruled out on the basis of the temperatures detected and the lack of correlation of the soft excess temperature with the hard X-ray luminosity over more than 2 orders of magnitude in luminosity. Furthermore, the high luminosities of the soft excess rule out an origin in the host galaxy.
Key words: galaxies: active / X-rays: galaxies / methods: observational / surveys / quasars: general
© ESO, 2010