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Molecular line probes of activity in galaxies

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 October 2008

S. García-Burillo
Affiliation:
Observatorio de Madrid, OAN, Alfonso XII, 3, 28014-Madrid, Spain
J. Graciá-Carpio
Affiliation:
Observatorio de Madrid, OAN, Alfonso XII, 3, 28014-Madrid, Spain
A. Usero
Affiliation:
Observatorio de Madrid, OAN, Alfonso XII, 3, 28014-Madrid, Spain
P. Planesas
Affiliation:
Observatorio de Madrid, OAN, Alfonso XII, 3, 28014-Madrid, Spain
A. Fuente
Affiliation:
Observatorio de Madrid, OAN, Alfonso XII, 3, 28014-Madrid, Spain
M. Krips
Affiliation:
CfA, SMA project, 60 Garden Street, MS 78 Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
Corresponding
E-mail address:
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Abstract

The use of specific tracers of the dense molecular gas phase can help to explore the feedback of activity on the interstellar medium (ISM) in galaxies. This information is a key to any quantitative assessment of the efficiency of the star formation process in galaxies. We present the results of a survey devoted to probe the feedback of activity through the study of the excitation and chemistry of the dense molecular gas in a sample of local universe starbursts and active galactic nuclei (AGNs). Our sample includes also 17 luminous and ultraluminous infrared galaxies (LIRGs and ULIRGs). From the analysis of the LIRGs/ULIRGs subsample, published in Graciá-Carpio et al.  (2007), we find the first clear observational evidence that the star formation efficiency of the dense gas, measured by the LFIR/LHCN ratio, is significantly higher in LIRGs and ULIRGs than in normal galaxies. Mounting evidence of overabundant HCN in active environments would even reinforce the reported trend, pointing to a significant turn upward in the Kennicutt-Schmidt law around LFIR = 1011L. This result has major implications for the use of HCN as a tracer of the dense gas in local and high-redshift luminous infrared galaxies.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© EAS, EDP Sciences, 2008

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References

Davies, R.I., Mueller-Sánchez, F., Genzel, R., et al., 2007, ApJ, 671, 1388 CrossRef
Fuente, A., García-Burillo, S., Gerin, M., et al., 2005, ApJ, 619, L155 CrossRef
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