13 January, 2006 - 11:00 AM
Molecular Gas in QSO host galaxies
Pierre Cox (IRAM)
The study of the molecular gas in the host galaxies of quasars at high redshift has significantly progressed during the last few years. From the current detection of CO emission in 38 sources, half are from quasars in the redshift from 1 < z < 6.4. In some cases, many CO rotational transitions are measured enabling us to constrain the physical conditions of the massive (≥ 1010 Msol) reservoirs of gas in the host galaxies. This review will present the current status of the studies of molecular gas in high-z quasars, detail the physical conditions which pertain in these systems which are scaled-up versions of the local ULIRGS, and discuss the
searches in high-z sources for species other than CO, including the fine structure lines of neutral carbon and the recent detection of the redshifted [C II] emission line in the z = 6.4 quasar J ~ 1148+5251. These results hold great promise for the study of galaxy formation and their evolution with redshift. This review will conclude
by outlining the expected progress in the field, in particular when future instruments such as ALMA will be operational which will enable to study the astrochemistry and its evolution in the early Universe.