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  1. ABSTRACT

    We report the detection of cold dust in an apparently quiescent massive galaxy (log (M⋆/M⊙) ≈ 11) at z ∼ 2 (G4). The source is identified as a serendipitous 2 mm continuum source in a deep ALMA observation within the field of Q2343-BX610, a z = 2.21 massive star-forming disc galaxy. Available multiband photometry of G4 suggests redshift of z ∼ 2 and a low specific star formation rate (sSFR), log (SFR/M⋆)[yr−1] ≈ −10.2, corresponding to ≈1.2 dex below the z = 2 main sequence (MS). G4 appears to be a peculiar dust-rich quiescent galaxy for its stellar mass (log (Mdust/M⋆) = −2.71 ± 0.26), with its estimated mass-weighted age (∼1–2 Gyr). We compile z ≳ 1 quiescent galaxies in the literature and discuss their age–ΔMS and log (Mdust/M⋆)–age relations to investigate passive evolution and dust depletion scale. A long dust depletion time and its morphology suggest morphological quenching along with less efficient feedback that could have acted on G4. The estimated dust yield for G4 further supports this idea, requiring efficient survival of dust and/or grain growth, and rejuvenation (or additional accretion). Follow-up observations probing the stellar light and cold dust peak are necessary to understand the implication of these findings in the broader context of galaxy evolutionary studies and quenching in the early universe.

     
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  2. Abstract

    Determining how the galactic environment, especially the high gas densities and complex dynamics in bar-fed galaxy centers, alters the star formation efficiency (SFE) of molecular gas is critical to understanding galaxy evolution. However, these same physical or dynamical effects also alter the emissivity properties of CO, leading to variations in the CO-to-H2conversion factor (αCO) that impact the assessment of the gas column densities and thus of the SFE. To address such issues, we investigate the dependence ofαCOon the local CO velocity dispersion at 150 pc scales using a new set of dust-basedαCOmeasurements and propose a newαCOprescription that accounts for CO emissivity variations across galaxies. Based on this prescription, we estimate the SFE in a sample of 65 galaxies from the PHANGS–Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array survey. We find increasing SFE toward high-surface-density regions like galaxy centers, while using a constant or metallicity-basedαCOresults in a more homogeneous SFE throughout the centers and disks. Our prescription further reveals a mean molecular gas depletion time of 700 Myr in the centers of barred galaxies, which is overall three to four times shorter than in nonbarred galaxy centers or the disks. Across the galaxy disks, the depletion time is consistently around 2–3 Gyr, regardless of the choice ofαCOprescription. All together, our results suggest that the high level of star formation activity in barred centers is not simply due to an increased amount of molecular gas, but also to an enhanced SFE compared to nonbarred centers or disk regions.

     
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  3. Abstract The CO-to-H 2 conversion factor ( α CO ) is central to measuring the amount and properties of molecular gas. It is known to vary with environmental conditions, and previous studies have revealed lower α CO in the centers of some barred galaxies on kiloparsec scales. To unveil the physical drivers of such variations, we obtained Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array bands (3), (6), and (7) observations toward the inner ∼2 kpc of NGC 3627 and NGC 4321 tracing 12 CO, 13 CO, and C 18 O lines on ∼100 pc scales. Our multiline modeling and Bayesian likelihood analysis of these data sets reveal variations of molecular gas density, temperature, optical depth, and velocity dispersion, which are among the key drivers of α CO . The central 300 pc nuclei in both galaxies show strong enhancement of temperature T k ≳ 100 K and density n H 2 > 10 3 cm −3 . Assuming a CO-to-H 2 abundance of 3 × 10 −4 , we derive 4–15 times lower α CO than the Galactic value across our maps, which agrees well with previous kiloparsec-scale measurements. Combining the results with our previous work on NGC 3351, we find a strong correlation of α CO with low- J 12 CO optical depths ( τ CO ), as well as an anticorrelation with T k . The τ CO correlation explains most of the α CO variation in the three galaxy centers, whereas changes in T k influence α CO to second order. Overall, the observed line width and 12 CO/ 13 CO 2–1 line ratio correlate with τ CO variation in these centers, and thus they are useful observational indicators for α CO variation. We also test current simulation-based α CO prescriptions and find a systematic overprediction, which likely originates from the mismatch of gas conditions between our data and the simulations. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2024
  4. ABSTRACT

    We use new HCN(1–0) data from the ACA Large-sample Mapping Of Nearby galaxies in Dense gas (ALMOND) survey to trace the kpc-scale molecular gas density structure and CO(2–1) data from the Physics at High Angular resolution in Nearby GalaxieS–Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (PHANGS–ALMA) to trace the bulk molecular gas across 25 nearby star-forming galaxies. At 2.1 kpc scale, we measure the density-sensitive HCN/CO line ratio and the star formation rate (SFR)/HCN ratio to trace the star formation efficiency in the denser molecular medium. At 150 pc scale, we measure structural and dynamical properties of the molecular gas via CO(2–1) line emission, which is linked to the lower resolution data using an intensity-weighted averaging method. We find positive correlations (negative) of HCN/CO (SFR/HCN) with the surface density, the velocity dispersion, and the internal turbulent pressure of the molecular gas. These observed correlations agree with expected trends from turbulent models of star formation, which consider a single free-fall time gravitational collapse. Our results show that the kpc-scale HCN/CO line ratio is a powerful tool to trace the 150 pc scale average density distribution of the molecular clouds. Lastly, we find systematic variations of the SFR/HCN ratio with cloud-scale molecular gas properties, which are incompatible with a universal star formation efficiency. Overall, these findings show that mean molecular gas density, molecular cloud properties, and star formation are closely linked in a coherent way, and observations of density-sensitive molecular gas tracers are a useful tool to analyse these variations, linking molecular gas physics to stellar output across galaxy discs.

     
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  5. Abstract We compare mid-infrared (mid-IR), extinction-corrected H α , and CO (2–1) emission at 70–160 pc resolution in the first four PHANGS–JWST targets. We report correlation strengths, intensity ratios, and power-law fits relating emission in JWST’s F770W, F1000W, F1130W, and F2100W bands to CO and H α . At these scales, CO and H α each correlate strongly with mid-IR emission, and these correlations are each stronger than the one relating CO to H α emission. This reflects that mid-IR emission simultaneously acts as a dust column density tracer, leading to a good match with the molecular-gas-tracing CO, and as a heating tracer, leading to a good match with the H α . By combining mid-IR, CO, and H α at scales where the overall correlation between cold gas and star formation begins to break down, we are able to separate these two effects. We model the mid-IR above I ν = 0.5 MJy sr −1 at F770W, a cut designed to select regions where the molecular gas dominates the interstellar medium (ISM) mass. This bright emission can be described to first order by a model that combines a CO-tracing component and an H α -tracing component. The best-fitting models imply that ∼50% of the mid-IR flux arises from molecular gas heated by the diffuse interstellar radiation field, with the remaining ∼50% associated with bright, dusty star-forming regions. We discuss differences between the F770W, F1000W, and F1130W bands and the continuum-dominated F2100W band and suggest next steps for using the mid-IR as an ISM tracer. 
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  6. Abstract The CO-to-H 2 conversion factor ( α CO ) is critical to studying molecular gas and star formation in galaxies. The value of α CO has been found to vary within and between galaxies, but the specific environmental conditions that cause these variations are not fully understood. Previous observations on ~kiloparsec scales revealed low values of α CO in the centers of some barred spiral galaxies, including NGC 3351. We present new Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array Band 3, 6, and 7 observations of 12 CO, 13 CO, and C 18 O lines on 100 pc scales in the inner ∼2 kpc of NGC 3351. Using multiline radiative transfer modeling and a Bayesian likelihood analysis, we infer the H 2 density, kinetic temperature, CO column density per line width, and CO isotopologue abundances on a pixel-by-pixel basis. Our modeling implies the existence of a dominant gas component with a density of 2–3 × 10 3 cm −3 in the central ∼1 kpc and a high temperature of 30–60 K near the nucleus and near the contact points that connect to the bar-driven inflows. Assuming a CO/H 2 abundance of 3 × 10 −4 , our analysis yields α CO ∼ 0.5–2.0 M ⊙ (K km s −1 pc 2 ) −1 with a decreasing trend with galactocentric radius in the central ∼1 kpc. The inflows show a substantially lower α CO ≲ 0.1 M ⊙ (K km s −1 pc 2 ) −1 , likely due to lower optical depths caused by turbulence or shear in the inflows. Over the whole region, this gives an intensity-weighted α CO of ∼1.5 M ⊙ (K km s −1 pc 2 ) −1 , which is similar to previous dust-modeling-based results at kiloparsec scales. This suggests that low α CO on kiloparsec scales in the centers of some barred galaxies may be due to the contribution of low-optical-depth CO emission in bar-driven inflows. 
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  7. Abstract

    We present maps tracing the fraction of dust in the form of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in IC 5332, NGC 628, NGC 1365, and NGC 7496 from JWST/MIRI observations. We trace the PAH fraction by combining the F770W (7.7μm) and F1130W (11.3μm) filters to track ionized and neutral PAH emission, respectively, and comparing the PAH emission to F2100W, which traces small, hot dust grains. We find the averageRPAH= (F770W + F1130W)/F2100W values of 3.3, 4.7, 5.1, and 3.6 in IC 5332, NGC 628, NGC 1365, and NGC 7496, respectively. We find that Hiiregions traced by MUSE Hαshow a systematically low PAH fraction. The PAH fraction remains relatively constant across other galactic environments, with slight variations. We use CO+Hi+Hαto trace the interstellar gas phase and find that the PAH fraction decreases above a value ofIHα/ΣHI+H21037.5ergs1kpc2(Mpc2)1in all four galaxies. Radial profiles also show a decreasing PAH fraction with increasing radius, correlated with lower metallicity, in line with previous results showing a strong metallicity dependence to the PAH fraction. Our results suggest that the process of PAH destruction in ionized gas operates similarly across the four targets.

     
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  8. Abstract

    Active galactic nucleus (AGN) feedback is postulated as a key mechanism for regulating star formation within galaxies. Studying the physical properties of the outflowing gas from AGNs is thus crucial for understanding the coevolution of galaxies and supermassive black holes. Here we report 55 pc resolution ALMA neutral atomic carbon [Ci]3P13P0observations toward the central 1 kpc of the nearby Type 2 Seyfert galaxy NGC 1068, supplemented by 55 pc resolution CO(J= 1−0) observations. We find that [Ci] emission within the central kiloparsec is strongly enhanced by a factor of >5 compared to the typical [Ci]/CO intensity ratio of ∼0.2 for nearby starburst galaxies (in units of brightness temperature). The most [Ci]-enhanced gas (ratio > 1) exhibits a kiloparsec-scale elongated structure centered at the AGN that matches the known biconical ionized gas outflow entraining molecular gas in the disk. A truncated, decelerating bicone model explains well the kinematics of the elongated structure, indicating that the [Ci] enhancement is predominantly driven by the interaction between the ISM in the disk and the highly inclined ionized gas outflow (which is likely driven by the radio jet). Our results strongly favor the “CO dissociation scenario” rather than the “in situ C formation” one, which prefers a perfect bicone geometry. We suggest that the high-[Ci]/CO intensity ratio gas in NGC 1068 directly traces ISM in the disk that is currently dissociated and entrained by the jet and the outflow, i.e., the “negative” effect of the AGN feedback.

     
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  9. Abstract

    We present a search for extremely red, dust-obscured,z> 7 galaxies with JWST/NIRCam+MIRI imaging over the first 20 arcmin2of publicly available Cycle 1 data from the COSMOS-Web, CEERS, and PRIMER surveys. Based on their red color in F277W−F444W (∼2.5 mag) and detection in MIRI/F770W (∼25 mag), we identify two galaxies, COS-z8M1 and CEERS-z7M1, that have best-fit photometric redshifts ofz=8.40.4+0.3and7.60.1+0.1, respectively. We perform spectral energy distribution fitting with a variety of codes (includingbagpipes,prospector,beagle, andcigale) and find a >95% probability that these indeed lie atz> 7. Both sources are compact (Reff≲ 200 pc) and highly obscured (AV∼ 1.5–2.5) and, at our best-fit redshift estimates, likely have strong [Oiii]+Hβemission contributing to their 4.4μm photometry. We estimate stellar masses of ∼1010Mfor both sources; by virtue of detection in MIRI at 7.7μm, these measurements are robust to the inclusion of bright emission lines, for example, from an active galactic nucleus. We identify a marginal (2.9σ) Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array detection at 2 mm within 0.″5 of COS-z8M1, which, if real, would suggest a remarkably high IR luminosity of ∼1012L. These two galaxies, if confirmed atz∼ 8, would be extreme in their stellar and dust masses and may be representative of a substantial population of highly dust-obscured galaxies at cosmic dawn.

     
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  10. Abstract

    Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) play a critical role in the reprocessing of stellar radiation and balancing the heating and cooling processes in the interstellar medium but appear to be destroyed in Hiiregions. However, the mechanisms driving their destruction are still not completely understood. Using PHANGS–JWST and PHANGS–MUSE observations, we investigate how the PAH fraction changes in about 1500 Hiiregions across four nearby star-forming galaxies (NGC 628, NGC 1365, NGC 7496, and IC 5332). We find a strong anticorrelation between the PAH fraction and the ionization parameter (the ratio between the ionizing photon flux and the hydrogen density) of Hiiregions. This relation becomes steeper for more luminous Hiiregions. The metallicity of Hiiregions has only a minor impact on these results in our galaxy sample. We find that the PAH fraction decreases with the Hαequivalent width—a proxy for the age of the Hiiregions—although this trend is much weaker than the one identified using the ionization parameter. Our results are consistent with a scenario where hydrogen-ionizing UV radiation is the dominant source of PAH destruction in star-forming regions.

     
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