A fundamental plane of black hole accretion at millimetre wavelengths

Ilaria Ruffa*, Timothy A. Davis, Jacob S. Elford, Martin Bureau, Michele Cappellari, Jindra Gensior, Daryl Haggard, Satoru Iguchi, Federico Lelli, Fu Heng Liang, Lijie Liu, Marc Sarzi, Thomas G. Williams, Hengyue Zhang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

8 Downloads (Pure)


We report the discovery of the ‘mm fundamental plane of black hole accretion’, which is a tight correlation between the nuclear 1 mm luminosity (Lν, mm), the intrinsic 2–10 keV X-ray luminosity (LX, 2–10) and the supermassive black hole (SMBH) mass (MBH) with an intrinsic scatter (σint) of 0.40 dex. The plane is found for a sample of 48 nearby galaxies, most of which are low-luminosity active galactic nuclei. Combining these sources with a sample of high-luminosity (quasar-like) nearby AGN, we show that the plane still holds. We also find that MBH correlates with Lν, mm at a highly significant level, although such correlation is less tight than the mm fundamental plane (σint = 0.51 dex). Crucially, we show that spectral energy distribution (SED) models for both advection-dominated accretion flows (ADAFs) and compact jets can explain the existence of these relations, which are not reproduced by the standard torus-thin accretion disc models usually associated to quasar-like AGN. The ADAF models reproduces the observed relations somewhat better than those for compact jets, although neither provides a perfect fit. Our findings thus suggest that radiatively inefficient accretion processes such as those in ADAFs or compact (and thus possibly young) jets may play a key role in both low- and high-luminosity AGN. This mm fundamental plane also offers a new, rapid method to (indirectly) estimate SMBH masses.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)L76-L82
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • Black hole physics
  • Galaxies: active
  • Galaxies: nuclei
  • Submillimetre: galaxies
  • X-rays: galaxies


Dive into the research topics of 'A fundamental plane of black hole accretion at millimetre wavelengths'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this