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Paper: 21-cm Absorbers at Intermediate Redshifts
Volume: 407, The Low-Frequency Radio Universe
Page: 67
Authors: Gupta, N.; Srianand, R.; Petitjean, P.; Noterdaeme, P.; Saikia, D.J.
Abstract: Damped Lyman-α systems (DLAs) seen in the spectra of high-z QSOs allow us to probe the physical conditions in protogalaxies. Our understanding of physical conditions in DLAs at high-z is primarily based on the absorption lines of H2 molecules and fine-structure transitions. Another important way of probing the thermal state of interstellar medium in these systems is by studying the 21-cm absorption in the spectra of background quasars. Here we report the main results of our GMRT survey to search for 21-cm absorption in a representative and unbiased sample of 35 DLA candidates at 1.10 ≤ z ≤ 1.45. Our sample of DLA candidates is drawn from the strong Mg ii systems in SDSS DR5 and has resulted in discovery of 9 new 21-cm absorbers. Prior to our survey only one 21-cm absorber was known in the redshift range: 0.7 ≤ z ≤ 1.5. This survey has allowed us to investigate the dependence of detectability of 21-cm absorption on the properties of UV absorption lines detected in SDSS spectra and estimate the number per unit redshift of 21-cm absorbers. Our GMRT survey provides a representative sample of systems that can be used in combination with various follow-up observations: (1) for investigating the physical conditions in the absorbing gas using spin temperature (TS) measurements, (2) for investigating the effect of metallicity and dust content on the detectability of 21-cm absorption, (3) for studying the morphology of the absorbing gas and (4) for probing the time evolution of various fundamental constants.
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