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Durham University

Department of Physics

Staff profile

Publication details for Professor Ian Smail

Decarli, R., Walter, F., Aravena, M., Carilli, C., Bouwens, R., da Cunha, E., Daddi, E., Elbaz, D., Riechers, D., Smail, I., Swinbank, M., Weiss, A., Bacon, R., Bauer, F., Bell, E.F., Bertoldi, F., Chapman, S., Colina, L., Cortes, P.C., Cox, P., Gónzalez-López, J., Inami, H., Ivison, R., Hodge, J., Karim, A., Magnelli, B., Ota, K., Popping, G., Rix, H.-W., Sargent, M., van der Wel, A. & van der Werf, P. (2016). The ALMA Spectroscopic Survey in the Hubble Ultra Deep Field: Molecular Gas Reservoirs in High-redshift Galaxies. The Astrophysical Journal 833(1): 70.

Author(s) from Durham


We study the molecular gas properties of high-z galaxies observed in the ALMA Spectroscopic Survey (ASPECS) that targets an ˜1 arcmin2 region in the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (UDF), a blind survey of CO emission (tracing molecular gas) in the 3 and 1 mm bands. Of a total of 1302 galaxies in the field, 56 have spectroscopic redshifts and correspondingly well-defined physical properties. Among these, 11 have infrared luminosities {L}{IR}\gt {10}11 {L}⊙ , i.e., a detection in CO emission was expected. Out of these, 7 are detected at various significance in CO, and 4 are undetected in CO emission. In the CO-detected sources, we find CO excitation conditions that are lower than those typically found in starburst/sub-mm galaxy/QSO environments. We use the CO luminosities (including limits for non-detections) to derive molecular gas masses. We discuss our findings in the context of previous molecular gas observations at high redshift (star formation law, gas depletion times, gas fractions): the CO-detected galaxies in the UDF tend to reside on the low-{L}{IR} envelope of the scatter in the {L}{IR}{--}{L}{CO}\prime relation, but exceptions exist. For the CO-detected sources, we find an average depletion time of ˜1 Gyr, with significant scatter. The average molecular-to-stellar mass ratio ({M}{{H}2}/M *) is consistent with earlier measurements of main-sequence galaxies at these redshifts, and again shows large variations among sources. In some cases, we also measure dust continuum emission. On average, the dust-based estimates of the molecular gas are a factor ˜2-5× smaller than those based on CO. When we account for detections as well as non-detections, we find large diversity in the molecular gas properties of the high-redshift galaxies covered by ASPECS.