Evolution of dusty star forming galaxies as revealed by ALMA

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Galaxies luminous in the infrared and millimeter wavelengths are the most intense starbursts in the universe. They are the so-called dusty star-forming galaxies. Characterized by star formation rates of hundreds and up to thousands of solar masses per year, their high dust content absorbs the intense ultraviolet emission from the burst of star formation and radiates it at far-infrared and millimeter wavelengths. They constitute a key galaxy population capable of assembling large amounts of stellar mass very quickly and have been proposed as progenitors of the most massive elliptical galaxies in the local universe. In the last few years, thanks to the ALMA interferometer, a number of studies have uncovered that the dust continuum emission occurs in compact areas smaller than the stellar sizes. However, there are also examples of more extended galaxy-wide dust continuum emission. Therefore, it remains to be understood how systematic compactness is and its relation with the physical properties of the galaxies across cosmic time. I will present the latest results of the GOODS-ALMA survey, a 1.1mm galaxy survey carried out with ALMA to shed light into these questions, the triggering mechanisms of starburst galaxies, and the evolutionary pathways of massive galaxies.


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