The spatial variations of the gas-to-dust ratio (GDR) provide constraints on the chemical evolution and lifecycle of dust in galaxies. We examine the relation between dust and gas at 10-50 pc resolution in the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds (LMC and SMC) based on Herschel far-infrared (FIR), HI 21 cm, CO, and Hiα observations. In the diffuse atomic interstellar medium (ISM), we derive the GDR as the slope of the dust-gas relation and find GDRs of 380-130+250 ± 3 in the LMC, and 1200-420+1600 ± 120 in the SMC, not including helium. The atomic-to-molecular transition is located at dust surface densities of 0.05 M⊙ pc-2 in the LMC and 0.03 M⊙ pc-2 in the SMC, corresponding to AV ∼ 0.4 and 0.2, respectively. We investigate the range of CO-to-H2 conversion factor to best account for all the molecular gas in the beam of the observations, and find upper limits on XCO to be 6 × 1020 cm-2 K-1 km-1 s in the LMC (Z = 0.5 Z⊙) at 15 pc resolution, and 4 × 1021 cm-2 K-1 km-1 s in the SMC (Z = 0.2 Z⊙) at 45 pc resolution. In the LMC, the slope of the dust-gas relation in the dense ISM is lower than in the diffuse ISM by a factor ∼2, even after accounting for the effects of CO-dark H2 in the translucent envelopes of molecular clouds. Coagulation of dust grains and the subsequent dust emissivity increase in molecular clouds, and/or accretion of gas-phase metals onto dust grains, and the subsequent dust abundance (dust-to-gas ratio) increase in molecular clouds could explain the observations. In the SMC, variations in the dust-gas slope caused by coagulation or accretion are degenerate with the effects of CO-dark H2. Within the expected 5-20 times Galactic XCO range, the dust-gas slope can be either constant or decrease by a factor of several across ISM phases. Further modeling and observations are required to break the degeneracy between dust grain coagulation, accretion, and CO-dark H2. Our analysis demonstrates that obtaining robust ISM masses remains a non-trivial endeavor even in the local Universe using state-of-the-art maps of thermal dust emission.
Publication Source (Journal or Book title)
Roman-Duval, J., Gordon, K., Meixner, M., Bot, C., Bolatto, A., Hughes, A., Wong, T., Babler, B., Bernard, J., Clayton, G., Fukui, Y., Galametz, M., Galliano, F., Glover, S., Hony, S., Israel, F., Jameson, K., Lebouteiller, V., Min-Young, L., Li, A., Madden, S., Misselt, K., Montiel, E., Okumura, K., Onishi, T., Panuzzo, P., Reach, W., Remy-Ruyer, A., Robitaille, T., Rubio, M., Sauvage, M., Seale, J., & Sewilo, M. (2014). Dust and gas in the magellanic clouds from the heritage herschel key project. II. Gas-to-dust ratio variations across interstellar medium phases. Astrophysical Journal, 797 (2) https://doi.org/10.1088/0004-637X/797/2/86