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Spectropolarimetry of broad emission lines in active galactic nuclei


Research objectives and content
The project consists in the interpretation of polarimetric and spectropolarimetric observations of Active Galactic Nuclei, aimed at understanding the structure of their Broad Line emission Region. Polarimetry can test unified theories, which claim that type 2 AGNs (with no broad lines) are actually edge-on type l's, a molecular torus obscuring the BLR emission from our sight: the observed polarized flux shows in fact the radiation scattered to us by diffuse material. We intend to investigate if the polarization properties of type 1 and intermediate type AGNs are consistent with unified schemes, on the basis of scattering and radiative transfer models developed at UH.
Furthermore, since only some of the possible geometries for the BLR produce orientation-dependent broad line profiles, spectropolarimetry, providing the opportunity to compare our direct view with the perspective of the scattering material, can help discriminate between categories of models for the emitting region.
Training content (objective, benefit and expected impact)
The project training objective is to gain experience in the field of spectropolarimetry applied to AGN research, both through the observing facilities accessed by UH and through the collaboration with UH scientists in data analysis/interpretation and theoretical modelling. A great benefit is expected, due to the excellent expertise of the chosen institution in the field.
Links with industry / industrial relevance (22)


University of Hertfordshire
College Lane
AL10 9AB Hatfield
United Kingdom

Participants (1)

Not available