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X-ray selected Infrared Excess AGN in the Chandra Deep Fields: a moderate fraction of Compton-thick sources

Abstract

We examine the properties of the X-ray detected, Infrared Excess AGN or Dust Obscured Galaxies (DOGs) in the Chandra Deep Fields (CDF). We find 26 X-ray selected sources which obey the 24 micron to R-band flux ratio criterion f_24/f_R>1000. These are at a median redshift of 2.3 while their IR luminosities are above 10^12 solar. Their X-ray luminosities are all above a few times 10^42 erg s-1 in the 2-10 keV band unambiguously arguing that these host AGN. Nevertheless, their IR Spectral Energy Distributions are split between AGN (Mrk231) and star-forming templates (Arp220). Our primary goal is to examine their individual X-ray spectra in order to assess whether this X-ray detected DOG population contains heavily obscured or even Compton-thick sources. The X-ray spectroscopy reveals a mixed bag of objects. We find that four out of the 12 sources with adequate photon statistics and hence reliable X-ray spectra, show evidence for a hard X-ray spectral index (~1) or harder,consistent with a Compton-thick spectrum. In total 12 out of the 26 DOGs show evidence for flat spectral indices. However, owing to the limited photon statistics we cannot differentiate whether these are flat because they are reflection-dominated or because they show moderate amounts of absorption. Seven DOGs show relatively steep spectra (>1.4) indicative of small column densities. All the above suggest a fraction of Compton-thick sources that does not exceed 5%. The average X-ray spectrum of all 26 DOGs is hard (~1.1) or even harder (~0.6) when we exclude the brightest sources. These spectral indices are well in agreement with the stacked spectrum of X-ray undetected sources (~0.8 in the CDFN). This could suggest (but not necessarily prove) that X-ray undetected DOGs, in a similar fashion to the X-ray detected ones presented here, are hosting a moderate fraction of Compton-thick sources.Comment: 16 pages To appear in A&

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