ARlogo Annu. Rev. Astron. Astrophys. 2014. 52:
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New observing capabilities from Herschel and other facilities have enhanced the power of far-infrared studies of galaxy evolution, for redshifts up to z ~ 2 and beyond.

  1. Near its peak, three quarters of the cosmic infrared background is resolved into individually detected galaxies.

  2. Far-infrared calorimetric star formation rates are now available for massive normal star forming galaxies at high redshift, and help calibrate other indicators. Direct far-infrared luminosity functions and star formation rate densities have been obtained out to z ≳ 3.

  3. The interstellar medium conditions of high-z massive star forming galaxies, as expressed in the far-infrared SED and in the ratio of mid- and far-infrared emission, are better described in relation to the evolving main sequence of star forming galaxies rather than by absolute infrared luminosity. Most star formation happens near the main sequence.

  4. The far-infrared emission shows that AGN hosts out to z ~ 2 typically are normal massive star forming galaxies. The role of major mergers is less important.

  5. Steps have been made towards using dust emission as a tracer of the total interstellar medium mass of high-z galaxies.

Disclosure Statement

The author is not aware of any affiliations, memberships, funding, or financial holdings that might be perceived as affecting the objectivity of this review.


The author would like to thank all who provided comments, insights, discussions, data, and figures, in particular Stefano Berta, David Elbaz, Sandy Faber, Reinhard Genzel, Hagai Netzer, Benjamin Magnelli, Emma Rigby, David Rosario, Stephen Serjeant, Toshinobu Takagi, and Stijn Wuyts.

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