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

S. Gillman, A. L. Tiley, A. M. Swinbank, U. Dudzevičiute, R. M. Sharples, Ian Smail, C. M. Harrison, Andrew J. Bunker, Martin Bureau, M. Cirasuolo, Georgios E. Magdis, Trevor Mendel, John P. Stott

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8 Citations (Web of Science)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4229-4247
Number of pages19
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


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