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ISM MASSES and the STAR FORMATION LAW at Z = 1 to 6: ALMA OBSERVATIONS of DUST CONTINUUM in 145 GALAXIES in the COSMOS SURVEY FIELD

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • N. Scoville
  • K. Sheth
  • H. Aussel
  • P. Vanden Bout
  • P. Capak
  • A. Bongiorno
  • C. M. Casey
  • L. Murchikova
  • J. Koda
  • J. Álvarez-Márquez
  • N. Lee
  • C. Laigle
  • H. J. McCracken
  • O. Ilbert
  • A. Pope
  • D. Sanders
  • J. Chu
  • S. Toft
  • R. J. Ivison
  • S. Manohar

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Original languageEnglish
Article number83
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume820
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Mar 2016

Abstract

ALMA Cycle 2 observations of long-wavelength dust emission in 145 star-forming galaxies are used to probe the evolution of the star-forming interstellar medium (ISM). We also develop a physical basis and empirical calibration (with 72 low-z and z ∼ 2 galaxies) for using the dust continuum as a quantitative probe of ISM masses. The galaxies with the highest star formation rates (SFRs) at = 2.2 and 4.4 have gas masses up to 100 times that of the Milky Way and gas mass fractions reaching 50%-80%, i.e., gas masses 1-4× their stellar masses. We find a single high-z star formation law: SFR 35 Mmol 0.89 × (1+ z)z=2 0.95 (sSFR)MS 0.23 M yr-1 - an approximately linear dependence on the ISM mass and an increased star formation efficiency per unit gas mass at higher redshift. Galaxies above the main sequence (MS) have larger gas masses but are converting their ISM into stars on a timescale only slightly shorter than those on the MS; thus, these "starbursts" are largely the result of having greatly increased gas masses rather than an increased efficiency of converting gas to stars. At z > 1, the entire population of star-forming galaxies has ∼2-5 times shorter gas depletion times than low-z galaxies. These shorter depletion times indicate a different mode of star formation in the early universe - most likely dynamically driven by compressive, high-dispersion gas motions - a natural consequence of the high gas accretion rates.

    Research areas

  • cosmology: observations, galaxies: evolution, galaxies: ISM

ID: 57587790