A new technique for measuring polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon emission in different environments.
XIE Y., HO L.C., LI A. and SHANGGUAN J.
Abstract (from CDS):
We present a new method to decompose the emission features of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from mid-infrared spectra using theoretical PAH templates in conjunction with modified blackbody components for the dust continuum and an extinction term. The primary goal is to obtain robust measurements of the PAH features, which are sensitive to the star formation rate, in a variety of extragalactic environments. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our technique, starting with the simplest Galactic high-latitude clouds to extragalactic systems of ever-increasing complexity, from normal star-forming galaxies to low-luminosity active galaxies, quasars, and heavily obscured infrared-luminous galaxies. In addition to providing accurate measurements of the PAH emission, including the upper limits thereof, our fits can reproduce reasonably well the overall continuum shape and constrain the line-of-sight extinction. Our new PAH line flux measurements differ systematically and significantly from those of previous methods by ∼15% to as much as a factor of ∼6. The decomposed PAH spectra show remarkable similarity among different systems, suggesting a uniform set of conditions responsible for their excitation.