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The evolution of gas-phase metallicity and resolved abundances in star-forming galaxies at z ≈0.6-1.8

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Christopher HarrisonORCiD


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© 2020 The Author(s). We present an analysis of the chemical abundance properties of ≈650 star-forming galaxies at z≈0.6-1.8. Using integral-field observations from the K-band multi-object spectrograph (KMOS), we quantify the [N II]/H α emission-line ratio, a proxy for the gas-phase oxygen abundance within the interstellar medium. We define the stellar mass-metallicity relation at z≈0.6-1.0 and z≈1.2-1.8 and analyse the correlation between the scatter in the relation and fundamental galaxy properties (e.g. Hα star formation rate, Hα specific star formation rate, rotation dominance, stellar continuum half-light radius, and Hubble-type morphology).We find that for a given stellar mass, more highly star-forming, larger, and irregular galaxies have lower gas-phase metallicities, which may be attributable to their lower surface mass densities and the higher gas fractions of irregular systems. We measure the radial dependence of gas-phase metallicity in the galaxies, establishing a median, beam smearing corrected, metallicity gradient of ΔZ/ΔR = 0.002±0.004 dex kpc-1, indicating on average there is no significant dependence on radius. The metallicity gradient of a galaxy is independent of its rest-frame optical morphology, whilst correlating with its stellar mass and specific star formation rate, in agreement with an inside-out model of galaxy evolution, as well as its rotation dominance.We quantify the evolution of metallicity gradients, comparing the distribution of ΔZ/ΔR in our sample with numerical simulations and observations at z≈0-3. Galaxies in our sample exhibit flatter metallicity gradients than local star-forming galaxies, in agreement with numerical models in which stellar feedback plays a crucial role redistributing metals.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Gillman S, Tiley AL, Swinbank AM, Dudzeviciute U, Sharples RM, Smail I, Harrison CM, Bunker AJ, Bureau M, Cirasuolo M, Magdis GE, Mendel T, Stott JP

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Year: 2021

Volume: 500

Issue: 3

Pages: 4229-4247

Print publication date: 01/01/2021

Online publication date: 31/10/2020

Acceptance date: 28/10/2020

ISSN (print): 0035-8711

ISSN (electronic): 1365-2966

Publisher: Oxford University Press


DOI: 10.1093/mnras/staa3400


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