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[en] We estimate the long-duration gamma-ray burst (LGRB) progenitor rate using our recent work on the effects of environmental metallically on LGRB formation in concert with supernovae (SNe) statistics via an approach patterned loosely off the Drake equation. Beginning with the cosmic star formation history, we consider the expected number of broad-line Type Ic events (the SNe type associated with LGRBs) that are in low-metallicity host environments adjusted by the contribution of high-metallicity host environments at a much reduced rate. We then compare this estimate to the observed LGRB rate corrected for instrumental selection effects to provide a combined estimate of the efficiency fraction of these progenitors to produce LGRBs and the fraction of which are beamed in our direction. From this we estimate that an aligned LGRB occurs for approximately every 4000 ± 2000 low-metallically broad-lined SNe Ic. Therefore, if one assumes a semi-nominal beaming factor of 100, then only about one such supernova out of 40 produce an LGRB. Finally, we propose an off-axis LGRB search strategy of targeting only broad-line Type Ic events that occur in low-metallicity hosts for radio observation.
[en] Recently, it has been suggested that the metallicity aversion of Long-duration Gamma Ray Bursts (LGRBs) is not intrinsic to their formation, but rather a consequence of the anti-correlation between star formation and metallicity seen in the general galaxy population. To investigate this proposal, we compare the metallicity of the hosts of LGRBs, broad-lined Type Ic (Ic-bl) supernovae (SNe), and Type II SNe to each other and to the metallicity distribution of star-forming galaxies using the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) to represent galaxies in the local universe and the Team Keck Redshift Survey (TKRS) for galaxies at intermediate redshifts. The differing metallicity distributions of LGRB hosts and the star formation in local galaxies forces us to conclude that the low-metallicity preference of LGRBs is not primarily driven by the anti-correlation between star formation and metallicity, but rather must be overwhelmingly due to the astrophysics of the LGRBs themselves. Three quarters of our LGRB sample are found at metallicities below 12+log(O/H) < 8.6, while less than a one-tenth of local star formation is at similarly low metallicities. However, our SN samples are statistically consistent with the metallicity distribution of the general galaxy population. Additionally, we show that the star formation rate distribution of the LGRB and SNe host populations are consistent with the star formation rate distribution of the SDSS galaxy sample. This provides further evidence that the low-metallicity distribution of LGRBs is not caused by the general properties of star-forming galaxies. Using the TKRS population of galaxies, we can exclude the possibility that the LGRB host metallicity aversion is caused by the decrease in galaxy metallicity with redshift, as this effect is clearly much smaller than the observed LGRB host metallicity bias over the redshift span of our sample. The presence of the strong metallicity difference between LGRBs and Type Ic-bl SNe largely eliminates the possibility that the observed LGRB metallicity bias is a byproduct of a difference in the initial mass functions of the galaxy populations. Rather, metallicity below half-solar must be a fundamental component of the evolutionary process that separates LGRBs from the vast majority of Type Ic-bl SNe and from the bulk of local star formation
[en] There is now strong evidence that long-duration gamma-ray bursts (LGRBs) are preferentially formed in low-metallicity environments. However, the magnitude of this effect and its functional dependence on metallicity have not been well characterized. In our previous paper, we compared the metallicity distribution of LGRB host galaxies to that of star-forming galaxies in the local universe. Here we build upon this work by in effect dividing one distribution by the other, and thus directly determine the relative rate of LGRB formation as a function of metallicity in the low-redshift universe. We find a dramatic cutoff in LGRB formation above a metallicity of in the KK04 scale, with LGRBs forming between 10 and 50 times more frequently per unit star formation below this cutoff than above. Furthermore, our data suggest that the rate of LGRB formation per unit star formation continues to fall above this break. We estimate that the LGRB formation rate per unit star formation may drop by as much as a factor of 100 between one-third solar and solar metallicity.
[en] We study the coupled effects of ion beam chemistry and morphology on the assembly of templated epitaxial nanostructures. Using a focused ion beam (FIB) system equipped with a mass-selecting filter, we pattern Si substrates with local ion doses of Si, Ge and Ga to control subsequent GexSi1-x epitaxial nanostructure assembly. This capability to employ different templating species allows us to study how different incorporated ion species in the near surface region affect the ability to localize nucleation during subsequent epitaxial growth. Our results indicate that FIB-directed self-assembly is a complex process, dependent on dose-induced morphology in addition to ion-specific chemical effects.
[en] We employ focused ion beam patterning of single crystal Si(100) surfaces to template the assembly of Ge(Si) nanostructure arrays. The evolution and final structures of the templated arrays are determined by combinations of transmission electron, low energy electron microscope, focused ion beam and scanning probe microscopies. It is shown how the positions of individual nanostructures may be controlled to the order of 10 nm. However, to achieve controlled spacings between elements that are in the 10 nm range requires careful matching of the characteristic lengths scales of self assembly mechanisms to the length scales of the external lithographic forcing functions.
[en] We present the discovery of the optical afterglow and early-type host galaxy of the short-duration GRB 100117A. The faint afterglow is detected 8.3 hr after the burst with rAB = 25.46 ± 0.20 mag. Follow-up optical and near-infrared observations uncover a coincident compact red galaxy, identified as an early-type galaxy at a spectroscopic redshift of z ∼ 0.915 with a mass of ∼3 x 1010 Msun, an age of ∼1 Gyr, and a luminosity of LB ≅ 0.5 L*. From a possible weak detection of [O II]λ3727 emission at z = 0.915 we infer an upper bound on the star formation rate of ∼0.1 Msun yr-1, leading to a specific star formation rate of ∼<0.004 Gyr-1. Thus, GRB 100117A is only the second short burst to date with a secure early-type host (the other being GRB 050724 at z = 0.257) and it has one of the highest short gamma-ray burst (GRB) redshifts. The offset between the host center and the burst position, 470 ± 310 pc, is the smallest to date. Combined with the old stellar population age, this indicates that the burst likely originated from a progenitor with no significant kick velocity. However, from the brightness of the optical afterglow we infer a relatively low density of n ∼ 3 x 10-4 ε-3e,-1ε-1.75B,-1 cm-3. The combination of an optically faint afterglow and host suggests that previous such events may have been missed, thereby potentially biasing the known short GRB host population against z ∼> 1 early-type hosts.
[en] We detect the optical afterglow and host galaxy of GRB 070714B. Our observations of the afterglow show an initial plateau in the light curve for approximately the first 5-25 minutes, and then steepening to a power-law decay with index α = 0.86 ± 0.10 for the period between 1 and 24 hr postburst. This is consistent with the X-ray light curve which shows an initial plateau followed by a similar subsequent decay. At late time, we detect a host galaxy at the location of the optical transient. Gemini Nod and Shuffle spectroscopic observations of the host show a single emission line at 7167 A which, based on a griz JHK photometric redshift, we conclude is the 3727 A [O II] line. We therefore find a redshift of z = 0.923. This redshift, as well as a subsequent probable spectroscopic redshift determination of GRB 070429B at z = 0.904 by two other groups significantly exceeds the previous highest spectroscopically confirmed short burst redshift of z = 0.546 for GRB 051221. This dramatically moves back the time at which we know short bursts were being formed and suggests that the present evidence for an old progenitor population may be observationally biased.
[en] We present late-time Hubble Space Telescope (HST) imaging of the fields of six Swift gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) lying at 5.0 ∼< z ∼< 9.5. Our data include very deep observations of the field of the most distant spectroscopically confirmed burst, GRB 090423, at z = 8.2. Using the precise positions afforded by their afterglows, we can place stringent limits on the luminosities of their host galaxies. In one case, that of GRB 060522 at z 5.11, there is a marginal excess of flux close to the GRB position which may be a detection of a host at a magnitude JAB ≈ 28.5. None of the others are significantly detected, meaning that all the hosts lie below L* at their respective redshifts, with star formation rates (SFRs) ∼< 4 M☉ yr–1 in all cases. Indeed, stacking the five fields with WFC3-IR data, we conclude a mean SFR <0.17 M☉ yr–1 per galaxy. These results support the proposition that the bulk of star formation, and hence integrated UV luminosity, at high redshifts arises in galaxies below the detection limits of deep-field observations. Making the reasonable assumption that GRB rate is proportional to UV luminosity at early times allows us to compare our limits with expectations based on galaxy luminosity functions (LFs) derived from the Hubble Ultra-Deep Field and other deep fields. We infer that an LF, which is evolving rapidly toward steeper faint-end slope (α) and decreasing characteristic luminosity (L*), as suggested by some other studies, is consistent with our observations, whereas a non-evolving LF shape is ruled out at ∼> 90% confidence. Although it is not yet possible to make stronger statements, in the future, with larger samples and a fuller understanding of the conditions required for GRB production, studies like this hold great potential for probing the nature of star formation, the shape of the galaxy LF, and the supply of ionizing photons in the early universe.