Feedback-driven evolution of the far-infrared spectral energy distributions of luminous and ultraluminous infrared galaxies

Sukanya Chakrabarti, T. J. Cox, Lars Hernquist, Philip F. Hopkins, Brant Robertson, Tiziana Di Matteo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


We calculate infrared spectral energy distributions (SEDs) from simulations of major galaxy mergers, and study the effect of active galactic nucleus (AGN) and starburst-driven feedback on the evolution of the SED as a function of time. We use a self-consistent three-dimensional radiative equilibrium code to calculate the emergent SEDs and to make images. To facilitate a simple description of our findings, we describe our results in reference to an approximate analytic solution for the far-IR SED. We focus mainly on the luminous infrared galaxy (LIRG) and ultraluminous infrared galaxy (ULIRG) phases of evolution. We contrast the SEDs of simulations performed with AGN feedback to simulations performed with starburst-driven wind feedback. We find that the feedback processes critically determine the evolution of the SED. Changing the source of illumination (whether stellar or AGN) has virtually no impact on the reprocessed far-infrared SED, We find that AGN feedback is particularly effective at dispersing gas and rapidly injecting energy into the ISM. The observational signature of such powerful feedback is a warm SED. In general, simulations performed with starburst-driven winds have colder spectra and reprocess more of their emission into the infrared, resulting in higher infrared to bolometric luminosities compared to (otherwise equivalent) simulations performed with AGN feedback. We depict our results in IRAS, as well as in Spitzer's MIPS bands, and in Herschel's PACS bands.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)840-850
Number of pages11
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2 I
StatePublished - Apr 1 2007


  • Galaxies: active
  • Galaxies: formation
  • Galaxies: starburst
  • Infrared: galaxies
  • Radiative transfer
  • Stars: formation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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