On the evolution of the molecular gas fraction of star-forming galaxies

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DOIResolve DOI: http://doi.org/10.1088/2041-8205/730/2/L19
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TypeArticle
Journal titleThe Astrophysical Journal Letters
ISSN2041-8205
Volume730
Issue2
Article numberL19
PagesL19-1
Subjectcosmology: observations; galaxies: evolution
AbstractWe present IRAM Plateau de Bure interferometric detections of CO (J = 1 -> 0) emission from a 24 mu m-selected sample of star-forming galaxies at z = 0.4. The galaxies have polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon 7.7 mu m-derived star formation rates of SFR similar to 30-60 M(circle dot) yr(-1) and stellar masses M(star) similar to 10(11) M(circle dot). The CO(J = 1 -> 0) luminosities of the galaxies imply that the disks still contain a large reservoir of molecular gas, contributing similar to 20% of the baryonic mass, but have star formation "efficiencies" similar to local quiescent disks and gas-dominated disks at z similar to 1.5-2. We reveal evidence that the average molecular gas fraction has undergone strong evolution since z similar to 2, with f(gas) alpha (1 + z)(similar to 2 +/- 0.5). The evolution of f(gas) encodes fundamental information about the relative depletion/replenishment of molecular fuel in galaxies and is expected to be a strong function of halo mass. We show that the latest predictions for the evolution of the molecular gas fraction in semi-analytic models of galaxy formation within Lambda CDM universe are supported by these new observations.
Publication date
PublisherIOP Publishing
LanguageEnglish
AffiliationNational Research Council Canada; NRC Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics
Peer reviewedYes
NPARC number19775307
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Record identifier9923606f-8c49-468e-90cd-da6cc20d478f
Record created2012-04-05
Record modified2016-05-09
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