Spitzer space telescope spectroscopy reveal a new class of galaxies
with enhanced molecular hydrogen (H2) line emission, but where star
formation is strongly suppressed. This is in sharp contrast with
what is observed in standard star forming galaxies. These sources
are all in active phases of galaxy evolution (galaxy interactions,
AGN feedback, gas accretion in galaxy clusters, etc.). Why is H2
present in violent phases of galaxy evolution? How is the H2
emission powered? Why is the H2 gas inefficient at forming stars?
What can we learn from these ''H2 galaxies'' about galaxy
formation? This thesis addresses these questions, and discuss the
theoretical and observational perspectives of this work (in
particular Herschel and JWST).
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