I am an extragalactic astronomer with a particular focus on the evolution of active galaxies. My main research investigates the characterization of the feeding material onto super massive black holes at the center of active nuclei. My work is shaped by a magnetohydrodynamical framework.
I am currently a scientist at NASA's Stratospheric Observatory For Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), leading the efforts for far-infrared polarimetric observations using the far-infared polarimeter, HAWC+.
NEW: Accepted SOFIA Legacy Program (PI: Lopez-Rodriguez & Mao) to construct a comprehensive empirical picture of the magnetic field strength and structure in the multiphase ISM of galaxies. SOFIA Legacy Program
My research is focused on the study of the dusty and clumpy obscuring structure surrounding the black hole and accretion disk in active galactic nuclei. I study the dusty torus using a hydrodynamical framework.
I participated in the commisioning of:
- HAWC+, far-infrared polarimeter onboard SOFIA
- MMT-Pol, near-infraed polarimeter, in conjuntion with the adaptive optics system on the 6.5-m MMT
- CanariCam, the polarimetric mode, on the 10.4-m Gran Telescopio CANARIAS
I am a member of the TMT ISDT: Supermassive Black Hole, and Time Domain. My current participation is focused on enhancing the potential areas that may benefit from the availability of polarimetric capabilities with the TMT in the Detailed Science Case 2015.
I am the PI of the Key Science Project "Towards a Dynamical AGN Tori" as part of the TMT/GMT collaboration.
I am also a member of MICHI, an MIR instrument for possible construction of the TMT.
I have published a total of 32 (+4 submitted) peer-reviewed papers with 13 (+1 submitted) as first author as of Feb. 2020.
Full bibliography can be found at My ADS
First detection of magnetically aligned dust grains in the dusty torus of an AGN, thanks to the ALMA poalrimetric observations at a resolution of 0.07" (4.2 pc) in Band 7 (860 um).2020b, ApJ, 893, 33
First detection of a galactic spiral magnetic field by means of thermal emission from magnetically aligned dust grains in the grand design spiral galaxy NGC 1068.2020a, ApJ, 888, 66
1-13 μm polarimetric observations reveal a diverse set of physical processes responsible for the nuclear polarization of AGN. Radio-Quiet AGN show low polarized cores arising from extended dust, while Radio-Loud AGN show high polarized cores arising from a compact dusty and magnetically driven torus.2018c, MNRAS, 478, 2350
Far-infrared poalrimetry suggests that a coherent dusty and magnetic field structure dominates the 10-100 μm emission around the AGN of Cygnus A.2018b, ApJ, 861, 23
The morphology of the dust emission in our 2D image at 432 μm is spatially coincident with the cloud distribution, while the morphology of the emission in the 1-20 μm wavelength range shows an elongated morphology perpendicular to the cloud distribution. We find that our 2D CLUMPY torus image at 12 μm can produce comparable results to those observed using IR interferometry2018a, ApJ, 859, 99
A dusty structure of scales of few pc dominates the infrared polarization of Mrk 231. The most plausible polarization mechanism is dust scattering.2017, MNRAS, 464, 1762
High-angular imaging- and spectro-polarimetric mid-infrared observations reveal the jet-ionization cones interaction in NGC 1068.2016b, MNRAS, 458, 3851
Offering a Bayesian approach to disentangle the several polarization mechanisms at mid-infrared wavelengths.2016a, MNRAS, 455, 2656
The dust located at the inner wall of the torus of NGC 1068 is confined by a strong, ~80 mG, magnetic field.2015, MNRAS, 452, 1902
Synchrotron emission dominates from a pc-scale jet close to the core.
NOTE: Check Lopez-Rodriguez et al. 2018b for the most recent results on this topic.2014, ApJ, 793, 81
The dusty torus is spatially confined at scales of 1 pc around the active nuclei due to a strong, ~100 mG, magnetic field.2013, MNRAS, 431, 2723
Press release about 'SOFIA far-infrared imaging polarimetry of M82 and NGC 253: Exploring the supergalactic wind' paper by Jones, Dowell, Lopez-Rodriguez, et al. 2019 ApJ, 870, 9.APOD (2019 March 11)
Press release about 'The highly polarized dusty emission core of cygnus A' paper by Lopez-Rodriguez 2018b ApJ, 861, 23.NASA Press Release
Article about 'The magnetic field in the central parsec of the Galaxy' paper by Roche et al. 2018, MNRAS, 476, 235.Astronomy Magazine
Press release about 'Investigating the dusty torus of Seyfert galaxies using SOFIA/FORCAST photometry' paper by Fuller et al. 2016 MNRAS, 462, 2618.NASA Press Release
Press release about the first-light polarimetric observations of galaxies with HAWC+.AAS 2018 Press Release