Spitzer view on the evolution of star-forming galaxies from z = 0 to z ∼ 3

Pablo G. Pérez-GonzáLez, George H. Rieke, Eiichi Egami, Almudena Alonso-Herrero, Hervé Dole, Casey Papovich, Myra Blaylock, Jessica Jones, Marcia Rieke, Jane Rigby, Pauline Barmby, Giovanni G. Fazio, Jiasheng Huang, Christopher Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

406 Scopus citations


We use a 24 μm-selected sample containing more than 8000 sources to study the evolution of star-forming galaxies in the redshift range from z = 0 to z ∼ 3. We obtain photometric redshifts for most of the sources in our survey using a method based on empirically built templates spanning from ultraviolet to mid-infrared wavelengths. The accuracy of these redshifts is better than 10% for 80% of the sample. The derived redshift distribution of the sources detected by our survey peaks at around z = 0.6-1.0 (the location of the peak being affected by cosmic variance) and decays monotonically from z ∼ 1 to z ∼ 3. We have fitted infrared luminosity functions in several redshift bins in the range 0 < z ≲ 3. Our results constrain the density and/or luminosity evolution of infrared-bright star-forming galaxies. The typical infrared luminosity (L*) decreases by an order of magnitude from z ∼ 2 to the present. The cosmic star formation rate (SFR) density goes as (1 + z)4.0±0.2 from z = 0 to 0.8. From z = 0.8 to z ∼ 1.2, the SFR density continues rising with a smaller slope. At 1.2 < z ≲ the cosmic SFR density remains roughly constant. The SFR density is dominated at low redshift (z ≲ 0.5) by galaxies that are not very luminous in the infrared (LTIR < 1011 L, where LTIR is the total infrared luminosity, integrated from 8 to 1000 μm). The contribution from luminous and ultraluminous infrared galaxies (LTIR > 1011 L) to the total SFR density increases steadily from z ∼ 0 up to z ∼ 2.5, forming at least half of the newly born stars by z ∼ 1.5. Ultraluminous infrared galaxies (LTIR > 1012 L) play a rapidly increasing role for z ≳1.3.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)82-107
Number of pages26
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 I
StatePublished - Sep 1 2005


  • Galaxies: evolution
  • Galaxies: high-redshift
  • Galaxies: photometry
  • Galaxies: starburst
  • Infrared: galaxies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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