SPICA and the Chemical Evolution of Galaxies: The Rise of Metals and Dust

J. A. Fernández-Ontiveros, L. Armus, M. Baes, J. Bernard-Salas, A. D. Bolatto, J. Braine, L. Ciesla, I. De Looze, E. Egami, J. Fischer, M. Giard, E. González-Alfonso, G. L. Granato, C. Gruppioni, M. Imanishi, D. Ishihara, H. Kaneda, S. Madden, M. Malkan, H. MatsuharaM. Matsuura, T. Nagao, F. Najarro, T. Nakagawa, T. Onaka, S. Oyabu, M. Pereira-Santaella, I. Pérez Fournon, P. Roelfsema, P. Santini, L. Silva, J. D.T. Smith, L. Spinoglio, F. Van Der Tak, T. Wada, R. Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


The physical processes driving the chemical evolution of galaxies in the last ~11 Gyr cannot be understood without directly probing the dust-obscured phase of star-forming galaxies and active galactic nuclei. This phase, hidden to optical tracers, represents the bulk of the star formation and black hole accretion activity in galaxies at 1 < z < 3. Spectroscopic observations with a cryogenic infrared observatory like SPICA, will be sensitive enough to peer through the dust-obscured regions of galaxies and access the rest-frame mid- to far-infrared range in galaxies at high-z. This wavelength range contains a unique suite of spectral lines and dust features that serve as proxies for the abundances of heavy elements and the dust composition, providing tracers with a feeble response to both extinction and temperature. In this work, we investigate how SPICA observations could be exploited to understand key aspects in the chemical evolution of galaxies: the assembly of nearby galaxies based on the spatial distribution of heavy element abundances, the global content of metals in galaxies reaching the knee of the luminosity function up to z ~ 3, and the dust composition of galaxies at high-z. Possible synergies with facilities available in the late 2020s are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere053
JournalPublications of the Astronomical Society of Australia
StatePublished - 2017


  • Galaxies: active
  • galaxies: evolution
  • galaxies: starburst
  • infrared: galaxies
  • techniques: spectroscopic telescopes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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