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Durham University

Department of Physics

Staff profile

Publication details for Professor Ian Smail

Thomson, A.P., Ivison, R.J., Smail, I., Swinbank, A.M., Weiss, A., Kneib, J.-P., Papadopoulos, P.P., Baker, A.J., Sharon, C.E. & van Moorsel, G.A. (2012). VLA imaging of 12CO J = 1-0 and free-free emission in lensed submillimetre galaxies. Monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 425(3): 2203-2211.

Author(s) from Durham


We present a study using the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) of 12CO J = 1-0 emission in three strongly lensed submillimetre-selected galaxies (SMM J16359, SMM J14009 and SMM J02399) at z = 2.5-2.9. These galaxies span LIR = 1011-1013 L⊙, offering an opportunity to compare the interstellar medium of luminous infrared galaxies and ultraluminous infrared galaxies at high redshift. We estimate molecular gas masses in the range of 2-40 × 109 M⊙ using a method that assumes canonical underlying brightness temperature (Tb) ratios for star-forming and non-star-forming gas phases and a maximal star formation efficiency. A more simplistic method - using XCO = 0.8 and the measured Tb ratios - yields gas masses twice as high. In SMM J14009 we find L CO 3-2'/L CO 1-0'=0.95±0.12, indicative of warm, star-forming gas, possibly influenced by the central active galactic nucleus (AGN). We set a gas mass limit of 3σ < 6 × 108 M⊙ for the Lyman break galaxy, A2218 #384, located in the same field as SMM J16359 at z = 2.515. Finally, we use the rest-frame ˜115 GHz free-free flux densities for SMM J14009 and SMM J02399 - measurements tied directly to the photoionization rate of massive stars, and made possible by VLA's bandwidth - to estimate star formation rates (SFRs) of 400-600 M⊙ yr-1 and to estimate the fraction of LIR due to AGN.