The molecular gas content of z = 3 lyman break galaxies: Evidence of a non-evolving gas fraction in main-sequence galaxies at z > 2

Georgios E. Magdis, E. Daddi, M. Sargent, D. Elbaz, RAPHAEL ALEXANDRE SIMON GOBAT , H. Dannerbauer, C. Feruglio, Q. Tan, D. Rigopoulou, V. Charmandaris, M. Dickinson, N. Reddy, H. Aussel

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Abstract

We present observations of the CO[J = 3 → 2] emission toward two massive and infrared luminous Lyman break galaxies (LBGs) at z = 3.21 and z = 2.92, using the IRAM Plateau de Bure Interferometer, placing first constraints on the molecular gas masses (M gas) of non-lensed LBGs. Their overall properties are consistent with those of typical (main-sequence) galaxies at their redshifts, with specific star formation rates 1.6 and 2.2Gyr-1, despite their large infrared luminosities (L IR (2-3) × 1012L) derived from Herschel. With one plausible CO detection (spurious detection probability of 10-3) and one upper limit, we investigate the evolution of the molecular gas-to-stellar mass ratio (M gas/M *) with redshift. Our data suggest that the steep evolution of M gas/M * of normal galaxies up to z 2 is followed by a flattening at higher redshifts, providing supporting evidence for the existence of a plateau in the evolution of the specific star formation rate at z > 2.5.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberL9
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Volume758
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 10 Oct 2012

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