CI as a tracer of gas mass in star forming galaxies
Research in galaxy evolution aims to understand the cosmic industry of converting gas into stars. While SFR and stellar mass evolution are well constrained by current data, our knowledge of gas in galaxies throughout cosmic time is comparatively lacking. Almost all high-redshift gas measurements to date rely on CO as a tracer, but this is subject to systematic uncertainties due to optically thick emission and poorly constrained dependences on gas density, distribution and metallicity. Recently, some attention has been given to dust continuum as an alternative gas tracer, which shows promise for large samples but still requires accurate calibration on a direct gas tracer at high redshift. The [CI] 492GHz emission line could overcome much of the systematic uncertainty, as it is optically thin and has similar excitation conditions to CO(1-0), but observational limitations have so far restricted CI measurements to very small samples. I will presen t some new data from ALMA, for the first time testing the CI/dust correlation in a representative sample of star-forming galaxies at z=1, and discuss how future observations could be designed to more widely exploit this independent gas tracer.