Chemistry of the Diffuse Interstellar Medium of High-Redshift Galaxies

Thesis Supervisor: Cedric Ledoux


Recently, the SDSS QSO database has opened new avenues in the field of QSO absorption line research by providing targets suitable for detailed studies of the interstellar medium (ISM) of high-redshift galaxies through Damped Lyman-Alpha systems (DLAs): composition, physical conditions, gas kinematics but also molecular content. Our group is a leader in the search and analysis of the diffuse molecular hydrogen at high redshift (e.g., Ledoux et al. 2003, MNRAS, 346, 209; Noterdaeme et al. 2008, arXiv:0801.3682V1).

The student will take advantage of high-quality, high-resolution spectra of quasars recently obtained for this purpose by our team with the Ultraviolet and Visual Echelle Spectrograph (UVES) installed at the ESO Very Large Telescope (VLT).

The PhD thesis project will immediately start with the detailed study of data already at hand on the first ever detection, elusive for more than 30 years, of UV absorption lines from carbon monoxyde in a star-forming galaxy at z=2.4. He/she will then participate in an ongoing observational campaign to build up a sample of VLT/UVES and X-Shooter spectra of the newly uncovered population of extremely metal-strong, neutral carbon (CI) absorbers in the redshift range 1.3 < z < 2.8.

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