April 2022 • 2022A&A...660A..14R
Abstract • The [CII] 158 μm emission line represents one of the most profitable tools for the investigation of the high-redshift galaxies in the early Universe so far. Being one of the brightest cooling lines in the rest-frame far-infrared regime of star-forming galaxies, it has been successfully exploited as a tracer of the star-formation rate (SFR) in local sources. The picture is more complex at higher redshifts, where its usability in this context is still under investigation. Recent results from the ALMA Large Program to INvestigate [CII] at Early times (ALPINE) survey suggest that there is no (or weak) evolution of the L[CII]-SFR relation up to z ∼ 6, but their reliability is hampered by the presence of a large population of [CII] nondetected galaxies. In this work, we characterize the population of [CII] nondetections in ALPINE. By stacking their ALMA spectra, we obtained a signal detected at ∼5.1σ, resulting in a [CII] luminosity of log(L[CII]/L⊙)∼7.8. When combining this value with those from the [CII] detections, we found a L[CII]-SFR relation with a slope b = 1.14 ± 0.11, which is in agreement within the uncertainties both with the linear relation found in the local Universe and with the previous findings from ALPINE at z ∼ 5. This suggests that the [CII] line can be considered a good tracer of star formation up to the distant Universe. Finally, we show that the galaxies of our sample that deviate from the observed L[CII]-SFR relation most could suffer from a less precise redshift estimation, perhaps artificially reducing their [CII] luminosity. In this respect, we claim that there is no evidence in favor of a deficit of [CII] content in high-z galaxies, in contrast with earlier studies.