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Liu, Weizhe
Veilleux, Sylvain
Feedback from Active Galactic Nucleus (AGN) may play a critical role in the coevolution of galaxies and supermassive black holes (SMBH). Specifically, AGN feedback may quench star formation, suppress baryon-to-dark matter mass ratio, shape galaxy morphology, impact the circumgalactic (CGM)/intergalactic medium (IGM), and regulate SMBH accretion. One of the most important forms of AGN feedback is powerful, quasar/AGN-driven outflows. However, the physical details of these outflows, including their driving mechanism and spatial extent, are still not well constrained. In addition, while these outflows are believed to be effective in massive galaxies, their impact on dwarf galaxies (M⋆ ~10^9.5 M⊙) remains largely unknown. To answer these open questions, my thesis focuses on AGN feedback via quasar/AGN-driven outflows in both ultraluminous infrared galaxies (ULIRGs) and dwarf galaxies with four projects.In the first half of my thesis, I examine the outflows in nearby ULIRGs with two objectives: In Chapter 2, I present a dedicated investigation of the highly ionized, likely pc-scale quasar/AGN winds in a sample of 21 nearby ULIRGs through HST/COS far-ultraviolet (FUV) spectroscopy. Blueshifted Lyα emission is prevalent in the sample, which is probably closely related to the outflowing gas and AGN activity in these objects. Additionally, the Lyα escape fractions tend to be slightly larger in objects with stronger AGN and larger outflow velocities. Highly ionized O VI and N V outflows are detected in a coherently selected, AGN-dominated ULIRG sample for the first time. Together with the results from a matched quasar sample, these outflows show higher incidence rates and larger EW and velocities in X-ray weak sources and sources with high X-ray absorbing column densities, implying that these outflows are radiatively-driven; In Chapter 3, I describe a deep, Chandra imaging spectroscopy study of the nearby ULIRG Mrk 273. The data have revealed a ∼40 kpc×40 kpc X-ray nebula, which is relatively hot and has a super-solar α/Fe abundance ratio. This nebula is most likely heated and metal-enriched by outflows over time. Additionally, the existence of a dual AGN is strongly suggested by the data, and extended 1–3 keV emission are detected, likely related to the AGN photoionized gas and/or outflowing gas. In the second half of my thesis, I turn to look at the AGN-driven outflows in dwarf galaxies: In Chapter 4, I report the results from a dedicated optical integral field spectroscopic study of a sample of eight dwarf galaxies with known AGN and suspected outflows. Fast, kpc-scale outflows are detected in seven of them. The outflows show 50-percentile (median) velocity of up to ∼240 km s^−1 and 80-percentile line width reaching ∼1200 km s^−1, in clear contrast with the more quiescent kinematics of the host gas and stellar components. The kinematics and energetics of these outflows suggest that they are primarily driven by the AGN. A small but non-negligible portion of the outflowing material likely escapes the main body of the host galaxy and contributes to the enrichment of the circumgalactic medium. The impact of these outflows on their dwarf host galaxies is similar to those taking place in the more luminous AGN with massive hosts in the low-redshift universe. In Chapter 5, I discuss the results from a pilot HST/COS spectroscopy program to examine three objects studied in Chapter 4. Blueshifted absorption features tracing fast outflows are detected in two of the three objects. For object J0954+47, the outflow is detected in multiple ions and is much faster than those in star-forming galaxies with similar star formation rates. The outflow velocity exceeds the escape velocity of this system, suggesting that a large fraction of the outflowing gas may escape. The outflow carries significant amount of mass, momentum and kinetic energy, which may transport material out of the galaxy more efficiently than the gas consumption by star formation. The ratio of kinetic energy outflow rate to AGN luminosity of this outflow is at least comparable to the expectation from simulations of AGN feedback.Finally, in Chapter 6, I summarize the main results of the whole thesis, and briefly highlight several future works that may lead to a more comprehensive understanding of AGN feedback in ULIRGs and dwarf galaxies.