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


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