The LOFAR window on star-forming galaxies and AGN - curved radio SEDs and IR-radio correlation at 0 < z < 2.5

G. Calistro Rivera, W. L. Williams, M. J. Hardcastle, K. J. Duncan, H.~J.~A. Röttgering, Philip N. Best, Marcus Brüggen, K.T. Chyzy, C. J. Conselice, Francesco De Gasperin, D. Engels, G. Gürkan, Huib T. Intema, M. J. Jarvis, E. K. Mahony, G.K. Miley, L. K. Morabito, I. Prandoni, J. Sabater, D. J. B. SmithC. Tasse, P. van der Werf, Glenn J. White

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We present a study of the low-frequency radio properties of star forming (SF) galaxies and active galactic nuclei (AGN) up to redshift $z=2.5$. The new spectral window probed by the Low Frequency Array (LOFAR) allows us to reconstruct the radio continuum emission from 150 MHz to 1.4 GHz to an unprecedented depth for a radio-selected sample of $1542$ galaxies in $\sim 7~ \rm{deg}^2$ of the LOFAR Bo\"otes field. Using the extensive multi-wavelength dataset available in Bo\"otes and detailed modelling of the FIR to UV spectral energy distribution (SED), we are able to separate the star-formation (N=758) and the AGN (N=784) dominated populations. We study the shape of the radio SEDs and their evolution across cosmic time and find significant differences in the spectral curvature between the SF galaxy and AGN populations. While the radio spectra of SF galaxies exhibit a weak but statistically significant flattening, AGN SEDs show a clear trend to become steeper towards lower frequencies. No evolution of the spectral curvature as a function of redshift is found for SF galaxies or AGN. We investigate the redshift evolution of the infrared-radio correlation (IRC) for SF galaxies and find that the ratio of total infrared to 1.4 GHz radio luminosities decreases with increasing redshift: $ q_{\rm 1.4GHz} = (2.45 \pm 0.04) \times (1+z)^{-0.15 \pm 0.03} $. Similarly, $q_{\rm 150MHz}$ shows a redshift evolution following $ q_{\rm 150GHz} = (1.72 \pm 0.04) \times (1+z)^{-0.22 \pm 0.05}$. Calibration of the 150 MHz radio luminosity as a star formation rate tracer suggests that a single power-law extrapolation from $q_{\rm 1.4GHz}$ is not an accurate approximation at all redshifts.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberstx1040
Pages (from-to)3468-3488
Number of pages21
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
Early online date1 May 2017
Publication statusPublished - 11 Aug 2017


  • galaxies: evolution
  • galaxies: nuclei
  • galaxies: photometry
  • galaxies: starburst
  • infrared: galaxies
  • radio continuum: galaxies


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