Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Physics (PhD)

Degree Level





Bret Lehmer

Committee Member

Daniel Kennefick

Second Committee Member

Woodrow Shew

Third Committee Member

Julia Kennefick


Galaxies, Surveys, X-ray Binaries


The Chandra Deep Fields provide an extraordinary window into the high-energy history of the cosmos. Observations of non-active galaxies within the deep fields can be leveraged to extract information about the formation and evolution of X-ray binaries (XRBs). Previous studies have suggested that the evolution of XRB luminosity can be expressed a function of physical parameters such as star formation rate, stellar mass, stellar age, and metallicity. The goal of this work is to develop and implement a complete physical parameterization for the luminosity of XRB populations, which can be utilized for a variety of further studies.

Chapter 1 provides the necessary scientific background for the remainder of the work. This specifically covers the formation of XRBs and the observed general trends associated with populations of XRBs. The motivating work for the later chapters is detailed as well.

Chapter 2 outlines the groundwork necessary to determine the star formation history of a galaxy, which is an essential step in developing an age-dependent model. The components of the Lightning spectral energy distribution fitting procedure are explained and the supporting evidence for use of Lightning is presented.

Chapter 3 establishes a procedure for creating and fitting a non-parametric age-based model for the evolution of XRB luminosity. A sample selection procedure is detailed, producing a sample of 344 deep field galaxies to be fit. Two models are fit, and one is found to provide a statistically robust. The results of the model are presented and interpreted for various applications.

Chapter 4 continues the pursuit of a complete physical parameterization. It begins by expanding the sample size through loosening the restrictions required for Lightning and incorporating metallicity measurements from the fundamental metallicity relation. Three different functional forms and the motivations behind each one are established. These models are fit to the data and although one is found to produce an acceptable fit, the model is not widely applicable.

Chapter 5 summarizes the findings of this work and discusses the accomplishments and shortcomings. Additionally, possible routes for future studies are discussed.