AuthorSpilker, Justin Scott
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractIn this dissertation, I study various aspects related to the gas and star formation in dusty star-forming galaxies in the distant universe. My dissertation is heavily based on observations made by the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), observing a sample of gravitationally lensed high-redshift dusty galaxies originally discovered by the South Pole Telescope (SPT). In addition to the introductions to the individual chapters, Chapter 1 provides a broader background to the study of these objects and places them in the overall context of galaxy evolution. In Chapter 2 I describe a technique designed to search for faint molecular lines in the spectrum of high-redshift dusty galaxies. The brightest molecular lines in the spectra of these objects are due to carbon monoxide, but a host of other species are present in the interstellar media. These other molecules trace gas of a wide range of temperatures and densities, but are generally ten times fainter than the brighter CO lines. I detected several other molecular lines, and used them to characterize the conditions of the interstellar gas. This work was published in Spilker et al. (2014). In Chapter 3, I describe a technique for modeling the effects of gravitational lensing which is optimized for data from interferometers such as ALMA. Using these models and data for a large sample of objects from ALMA, I studied the intrinsic properties of the sample such as the source sizes and luminosities. I used these intrinsic properties to revisit topics from the literature which benefit from the additional size information I determined. This work was published in Spilker et al. (2016). In Chapter 4, I use the modeling technique I developed to investigate the relationship between the star formation and the cold molecular gas from which stars form in two objects selected from the SPT sample. Using the models of the source, I was able to determine the mass of molecular gas in these objects using several independent methods. I found that the molecular gas reservoirs are more extended than the star formation, which has implications for the "law'" used as a prescription for star formation in many simulations. This work was published in Spilker et al. (2015). Chapter 5 describes ongoing work to determine what will happen to the dusty galaxies after their active phase of star formation ends, and what processes dominate that change. Since their discovery, these dusty galaxies have been thought to be progenitors of early quiescent galaxies. In this chapter, I show observations of a massive molecular outflow from a single object, which may be responsible for removing the raw material for star formation. Finally, in Chapter 6, I end with a summary of this dissertation.
Degree ProgramGraduate College