Tracing the sources of reionization in cosmological radiation hydrodynamics simulations

Harley Katz, Taysun Kimm, Martin G. Haehnelt, Debora Sijacki, Joakim Rosdahl, Jeremy Blaizot

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)


We use the photon flux and absorption tracer algorithm presented in Katz et al. to characterize the contribution of haloes of different mass and stars of different age and metallicity to the reionization of the Universe. We employ a suite of cosmological multifrequency radiation hydrodynamics AMR simulations that are carefully calibrated to reproduce a realistic reionization history and galaxy properties at z ≥ 6. In our simulations, haloes with mass 109 M☉ h−1 < M < 1010 M☉ h−1, stars with metallicity 10−3 Z☉ < Z < 10−1.5 Z☉, and stars with age 3 Myr < t < 10 Myr dominate reionization by both mass and volume. We show that the sources that reionize most of the volume of the Universe by z = 6 are not necessarily the same sources that dominate the meta-galactic UV background at the same redshift. We further show that in our simulations, the contribution of each type of source to reionization is not uniform across different gas phases. The IGM, CGM, filaments, ISM, and rarefied supernova heated gas have all been photoionized by different classes of sources. Collisional ionization contributes at both the lowest and highest densities. In the early stages of the formation of individual H II bubbles, reionization proceeds with the formation of concentric shells of gas ionized by different classes of sources, leading to large temperature variations as a function of galacto-centric radius. The temperature structure of individual H II bubbles may thus give insight into the star formation history of the galaxies acting as the first ionizing sources. Our explorative simulations highlight how the complex nature of reionization can be better understood by using our photon tracer algorithm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1029-1041
Number of pages13
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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