The XMM-Newton view of PG quasars I. X-ray continuum and absorption

Abstract

We present results of a systematic analysis of the XMM-Newton spectra of 40 quasars (QSOs) (z = 1.89+/-0.11 and = 1.63^(+0.02)_(-0.01) for the RQQs and RLQs, respectively. Below 2 keV, a strong, broad excess is present in most QSO spectra. This feature has been fitted with four different models assuming several physical scenarios. All tested models (blackbody, multicolor blackbody, bremsstrahlung and power law) satisfactorily fitted the majority of the spectra. However, none of them is able to provide an adequate parameterization for the soft excess emission in all QSOs, indicating the absence of an universal shape for this spectral feature. An additional cold absorption component was required only in three sources. On the other hand, as recently pointed out by Porquet et al. (2004) for a smaller sample of PG QSOs, warm absorber features are present in ~50% of the QSO spectra in contrast with their rare occurrence (~5-10%) found in previous studies. The XMM-Newton view of optically-selected bright QSOs therefore suggests that there are no significant difference in the X-ray spectral properties once compared with the low-luminosity Seyfert 1 galaxies. Properties of the Fe Kalpha emission lines are presented in a companion paper

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