Modelling the Spoon IRS diagnostic diagram
MetadataShow full item record
We explore whether our models for starbursts, quiescent star-forming galaxies and for active galactic nuclei (AGN) dust tori are able to model the full range of Spitzer Infrared Spectrograph (IRS) spectra measured with Spitzer. The diagnostic plot of 9.7 μm silicate optical depth versus 6.2 μm polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) equivalent width, introduced by Spoon and coworkers in 2007, gives a good indication of the age and optical depth of a starburst, and of the contribution of an AGN dust torus. However, there is aliasing between age and optical depth at later times in the evolution of a starburst, and between age and the presence of an AGN dust torus. Modelling the full IRS spectra and using broad-band 25-850 μm fluxes can help to resolve these aliases. The observed spectral energy distributions require starbursts of a range of ages with initial dust optical depth ranging from 50-200, optically thin dust emission ('cirrus') illuminated by a range of surface brightnesses of the interstellar radiation field, and AGN dust tori with a range of viewing angles.