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A Molecular Line Scan in the Hubble Deep Field North: Constraints on the CO Luminosity Function and the Cosmic H_2 Density

Walter, F. and Decarli, R. and Sargent, M. T. and Carilli, C. and Dickinson, M. and Riechers, D. and Ellis, R. S. and Stark, D. and Weiner, B. and Aravena, M. and Bell, E. and Bertoldi, F. and Cox, P. and da Cunha, E. and Daddi, E. and Downes, D. and Lentati, L. and Maiolino, R. and Menten, K. M. and Neri, R. and Rix, H.-W. and Weiss, A. (2014) A Molecular Line Scan in the Hubble Deep Field North: Constraints on the CO Luminosity Function and the Cosmic H_2 Density. Astrophysical Journal, 782 (2). Art. No. 79. ISSN 0004-637X.

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We present direct constraints on the CO luminosity function at high redshift and the resulting cosmic evolution of the molecular gas density, ρH_2(z), based on a blind molecular line scan in the Hubble Deep Field North (HDF-N) using the IRAM Plateau de Bure Interferometer. Our line scan of the entire 3 mm window (79-115 GHz) covers a cosmic volume of ~7000 Mpc^3, and redshift ranges z < 0.45, 1.01 < z < 1.89 and z > 2. We use the rich multiwavelength and spectroscopic database of the HDF-N to derive some of the best constraints on CO luminosities in high redshift galaxies to date. We combine the blind CO detections in our molecular line scan (presented in a companion paper) with stacked CO limits from galaxies with available spectroscopic redshifts (slit or mask spectroscopy from Keck and grism spectroscopy from the Hubble Space Telescope) to give first blind constraints on high-z CO luminosity functions and the cosmic evolution of the H_2 mass density ρH_2(z) out to redshifts z ~ 3. A comparison to empirical predictions of ρH_2(z) shows that the securely detected sources in our molecular line scan already provide significant contributions to the predicted ρH_2(z) in the redshift bins 〈z〉 ~ 1.5 and 〈z〉 ~ 2.7. Accounting for galaxies with CO luminosities that are not probed by our observations results in cosmic molecular gas densities ρH_2(z) that are higher than current predictions. We note, however, that the current uncertainties (in particular the luminosity limits, number of detections, as well as cosmic volume probed) are significant, a situation that is about to change with the emerging ALMA observatory.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Walter, F.0000-0003-4793-7880
Decarli, R.0000-0002-2662-8803
Sargent, M. T.0000-0003-1033-9684
Carilli, C.0000-0001-6647-3861
Dickinson, M.0000-0001-5414-5131
Riechers, D.0000-0001-9585-1462
Ellis, R. S.0000-0001-7782-7071
Aravena, M.0000-0002-6290-3198
Bertoldi, F.0000-0002-1707-1775
Cox, P.0000-0003-2027-8221
da Cunha, E.0000-0001-9759-4797
Daddi, E.0000-0002-3331-9590
Menten, K. M.0000-0001-6459-0669
Neri, R.0000-0002-7176-4046
Rix, H.-W.0000-0003-4996-9069
Weiss, A.0000-0003-4678-3939
Additional Information:© 2014 American Astronomical Society. Received 2013 August 16; accepted 2013 December 5; published 2014 January 30. We thank the referee for a very helpful and constructive report. F.W., D.R., and E.d.C. acknowledge the Aspen Center for Physics where parts of this manuscript were written. This paper is based on observations with the IRAM Plateau de Bure Interferometer (PdBI). IRAM is supported by INSU/CNRS (France), MPG (Germany) and IGN (Spain). Support for R.D. was provided by the DFG priority program 1573 “The physics of the interstellar medium.”
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Institut national des sciences de l'Univers (INSU)UNSPECIFIED
Instituto Geográfico Nacional (IGN)UNSPECIFIED
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)1573
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS)UNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:cosmology: observations; galaxies: evolution; galaxies: formation; infrared: galaxies
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20140519-110448697
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Official Citation:A Molecular Line Scan in the Hubble Deep Field North: Constraints on the CO Luminosity Function and the Cosmic H_2 Density F. Walter et al. 2014 ApJ 782 79
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:45820
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:19 May 2014 19:51
Last Modified:21 Apr 2020 00:01

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