WAGG J., WILNER D.J., NERI R., DOWNES D. and WIKLIND T.
Abstract (from CDS):
We detect HCN J=5-4 emission from the ultraluminous quasar APM 08279+5255 at z=3.911 using the IRAM Plateau de Bure Interferometer. This object is strongly gravitationally lensed, yet still thought to be one of the most intrinsically luminous objects in the universe. The new data imply a line luminosity L'HCN(J=5–4)=(4.0±0.5)x1010 K km/s pc2. The ∼440 km/s FWHM of the HCN J=5-4 line matches that of the previously observed high-J CO lines in this object and suggests that the emission from both species emerges from the same region: a warm, dense circumnuclear disk. Simple radiative transfer models suggest an enhanced abundance of HCN relative to CO in the nuclear region of APM 08279+5255, perhaps due to increased ionization, or possibly the selective depletion of oxygen. The ratio of far-infrared luminosity to HCN luminosity is at the high end of the range found for nearby star-forming galaxies, but is comparable to that observed in the few high-redshift objects detected in the HCN J=1-0 line. This is the first clear detection of high-J HCN emission redshifted into the 3 mm atmospheric window.: