A Survey of Atomic Carbon [C i] in High-redshift Main-sequence Galaxies

Francesco Valentino*, Georgios E. Magdis, Emanuele Daddi, Daizhong Liu, Manuel Aravena, Frédéric Bournaud, Anna Cibinel, Diane Cormier, Mark E. Dickinson, Yu Gao, Shuowen Jin, Stéphanie Juneau, Jeyhan Kartaltepe, Min-Young Lee, Suzanne C. Madden, Annagrazia Puglisi, David Sanders, John Silverman

*Corresponding author for this work

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We present the first results of an Atacama Large Millimeter Array survey of the lower fine-structure line of atomic carbon [C i] in far-infrared-selected galaxies on the main sequence at z ∼ 1.2 in the COSMOS field. We compare our sample with a comprehensive compilation of data available in the literature for local and high-redshift starbursting systems and quasars. We show that the [C i] (3 P 1 → 3 P 0) luminosity correlates on global scales with the infrared luminosity , similar to low-J CO transitions. We report a systematic variation of / as a function of the galaxy type, with the ratio being larger for main-sequence galaxies than for starbursts and submillimeter galaxies at fixed . The / and / mass ratios are similar for main-sequence galaxies and for local and high-redshift starbursts within a 0.2 dex intrinsic scatter, suggesting that [C i] is a good tracer of molecular gas mass as CO and dust. We derive a fraction of of the total carbon mass in the atomic neutral phase. Moreover, we estimate the neutral atomic carbon abundance, the fundamental ingredient to calibrate [C i] as a gas tracer, by comparing and available gas masses from CO lines and dust emission. We find lower [C i] abundances in main-sequence galaxies than in starbursting systems and submillimeter galaxies as a consequence of the canonical α CO and gas-to-dust conversion factors. This argues against the application to different galaxy populations of a universal standard [C i] abundance derived from highly biased samples.
Original languageEnglish
Article number27
JournalAstrophysical Journal Supplement Series
Issue number1
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Galaxies: evolution
  • Galaxies: ISM
  • Galaxies: high-redshift
  • Galaxies: star formation
  • Submillimeter: galaxies
  • Submillimeter: ISM

Cite this

Valentino, F., Magdis, G. E., Daddi, E., Liu, D., Aravena, M., Bournaud, F., Cibinel, A., Cormier, D., Dickinson, M. E., Gao, Y., Jin, S., Juneau, S., Kartaltepe, J., Lee, M-Y., Madden, S. C., Puglisi, A., Sanders, D., & Silverman, J. (2018). A Survey of Atomic Carbon [C i] in High-redshift Main-sequence Galaxies. Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series, 869(1), [27]. https://doi.org/10.3847/1538-4357/aaeb88