Population statistics of intermediate-mass black holes in dwarf galaxies using the NEWHORIZON simulation

R. S. Beckmann, Y. Dubois, M. Volonteri, C. A. Dong-Páez, M. Trebitsch, J. Devriendt, S. Kaviraj, T. Kimm, S. Peirani

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While it is well established that supermassive black holes (SMBHs) coevolve with their host galaxy, it is currently less clear how lower-mass black holes, so-called intermediate-mass black holes (IMBHs), evolve within their dwarf galaxy hosts. In this paper, we present results on the evolution of a large sample of IMBHs from the NEWHORIZON zoom volume, which has a radius of 10 comoving Mpc. We show that occupation fractions of IMBHs in dwarf galaxies are at least 50 per cent for galaxies with stellar masses down to 10 6 M☉, but BH growth is very limited in dwarf galaxies. In NEWHORIZON, IMBHs growth is somewhat more efficient at high redshift z = 3 but in general, IMBHs do not grow significantly until their host galaxy leaves the dwarf regime. As a result, NEWHORIZON underpredicts observed AGN luminosity function and AGN fractions. We show that the difficulties of IMBHs to remain attached to the centres of their host galaxies plays an important role in limiting their mass growth, and that this dynamic evolution away from galactic centres becomes stronger at lower redshift.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberstad1544
Pages (from-to)5610–5623
Number of pages14
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
Early online date27 May 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2023


  • astro-ph.GA
  • galaxies: dwarf
  • black hole physics
  • methods: numerical


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