High redshift supermassive blackholes: accretion through cold flows

Research paper by Yu Feng, Tiziana Di Matteo, Rupert Croft, Nishikanta Khandai

Indexed on: 04 Dec '13Published on: 04 Dec '13Published in: arXiv - Astrophysics - Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics


We use zoom-in techniques to re-simulate three high-redshift (z > 5.5) halos which host 10^9 solar mass blackholes from the ~ Gpc volume, MassiveBlack cosmological hydrodynamic simulation. We examine a number of factors potentially affecting supermassive blackhole growth at high redshift in cosmological simulations. These include numerical resolution, feedback prescriptions and formulation of smoothed particle hydrodynamics. We find that varying the size of the region over which feedback energy is deposited directly, either for fixed number of neighbours or fixed volume makes very little difference to the accretion history of blackholes. Changing mass resolution by factors of up to 64 also does not change the blackhole growth history significantly. We find that switching from the density-entropy formulation to the pressure-entropy formulation of smoothed particle hydrodynamics slightly increases the accretion rate onto blackholes. In general numerical details appear to have small effects on the main fueling mechanism for blackholes at these high redshifts. We examine the fashion by which this occurs, finding that the insensitivity to simulation technique seems to be a hallmark of the cold flow feeding picture of these high-z supermassive blackholes. We show that the gas that participates in critical accretion phases, in these massive objects at z > 6~7 is in all cases colder, denser, and forms more coherent streams than the average gas in the halo. This is also mostly the case when the blackhole accretion is feedback regulated (z < 6), however the distinction is less prominent. For our resimulated halos, cold flows appear to be a viable mechanism for forming the most massive blackholes in the early universe, occurring naturally in LambdaCDM models of structure formation. Not requiring fine tuning of numerical parameters, they seem to be physically inevitable in these objects.