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Title: Characterising the dense molecular gas in exceptional local galaxies
Author: Tunnard, R. C. A.
ISNI:       0000 0004 8497 8072
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2016
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The interferometric facilities now coming online (the Atacama Large Millimetre Array (ALMA) and the NOrthern Extended Millimeter Array (NOEMA)) and those planned for the coming decade (the Next Generation Very Large Array (ngVLA) and the Square Kilometre Array (SKA)) in the radio to sub-millimetre regimes are opening a window to the molecular gas in high-redshift galaxies. However, our understanding of similar galaxies in the local universe is still far from complete and the data analysis techniques and tools needed to interpret the observations in consistent and comparable ways are yet to be developed. I first describe the Monte Carlo Markov Chain (MCMC) script developed to empower a public radiative transfer code. I characterise both the public code and MCMC script, including an exploration of the effect of observing molecular lines at high redshift where the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) can provide a significant background, as well as the effect this can have on well-known local correlations. I present two studies of ultraluminous infrared galaxies (ULIRGs) in the local universe making use of literature and collaborator data. In the first of these, NGC\,6240, I use the wealth of available data and the geometry of the source to develop a multi-phase, multi-species model, finding evidence for a complex medium of hot diffuse and cold dense gas in pressure equilibrium. Next, I study the prototypical ULIRG Arp\,220; an extraordinary galaxy rendered especially interesting by the controversy over the power source of the western of the two merger nuclei and its immense luminosity and dust obscuration. Using traditional grid based methods I explore the molecular gas conditions within the nuclei and find evidence for chemical differentiation between the two nuclei, potentially related to the obscured power source. Finally, I investigate the potential evolution of proto-clusters over cosmic time with sub-millimetre observations of 14 radio galaxies, unexpectedly finding little to no evidence for cluster evolution.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available