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A survey of molecular gas in luminous sub-millimetre galaxies.

Bothwell, M.S. and Smail, I. and Chapman, S.C. and Genzel, R. and Ivison, R.J. and Tacconi, L.J. and Alaghband-Zadeh, S. and Bertoldi, F. and Blain, A.W. and Casey, C.M. and Cox, P. and Greve, T.R. and Lutz, D. and Neri, R. and Omont, A. and Swinbank, A.M. (2013) 'A survey of molecular gas in luminous sub-millimetre galaxies.', Monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society., 429 (4). pp. 3047-3067.


We present the results from a survey of 12CO emission in 40 luminous sub-millimetre galaxies (SMGs), with 850-μm fluxes of S850 μm = 4–20 mJy, conducted with the Plateau de Bure Interferometer. We detect 12CO emission in 32 SMGs at z ∼ 1.2–4.1, including 16 SMGs not previously published. Using multiple 12CO line (Jup = 2–7) observations, we derive a median spectral line energy distribution for luminous SMGs. We report the discovery of a fundamental relationship between 12CO FWHM and 12CO line luminosity in high-redshift starbursts, which we interpret as a natural consequence of the baryon-dominated dynamics within the regions probed by our observations. We use far-infrared luminosities to assess the star formation efficiency in our SMGs, finding that the slope of the L′CO-LFIR relation is close to linear. We derive molecular gas masses, finding a mean gas mass of (5.3 ± 1.0) × 1010 M⊙. Combining these with dynamical masses, we determine the redshift evolution of the gas content of SMGs, finding that they do not appear to be significantly more gas rich than less vigorously star-forming galaxies at high redshifts. Finally, we collate X-ray observations, and study the interdependence of gas and dynamical properties of SMGs with their AGN activity and supermassive black hole masses (MBH), finding that SMGs lie significantly below the local MBH-σ relation.

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Publisher statement:This article has been accepted for publication in the Monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society ©: 2013 The Authors. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:02 July 2013
Date of first online publication:March 2013
Date first made open access:No date available

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