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Durham University

Department of Physics

Staff profile

Publication details for Professor Ian Smail

Khostovan, A.A., Sobral, D., Mobasher, B., Smail, I., Darvish, B., Nayyeri, H., Hemmati, S. & Stott, J.P. (2016). The nature of Hβ+[O III] and [O II] emitters to z ∼ 5 with HiZELS: stellar mass functions and the evolution of EWs. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 463(3): 2363-2382.

Author(s) from Durham


We investigate the properties of ∼7000 narrow-band selected galaxies with strong Hβ+[O III] and [O II] nebular emission lines from the High-z Emission-Line Survey between z ∼ 0.8 and 5.0. Our sample covers a wide range in stellar mass (Mstellar ∼ 107.5–12.0 M⊙), rest-frame equivalent widths (EWrest∼10–105 Å), and line luminosities (Lline ∼ 1040.5–43.2 erg s−1). We measure the Hβ+[O III]-selected stellar mass functions out to z ∼ 3.5 and find that both M⋆ and ϕ⋆ increases with cosmic time. The [O II]-selected stellar mass functions show a constant M⋆ ≈ 1011.6 M⊙ and a strong, increasing evolution with cosmic time in ϕ⋆ in line with Hα studies. We also investigate the evolution of the EWrest as a function of redshift with a fixed mass range (109.5–10.0 M⊙) and find an increasing trend best represented by (1 + z)3.81 ± 0.14 and (1 + z)2.72 ± 0.19 up to z ∼ 2 and ∼3 for Hβ+[O III] and [O II] emitters, respectively. This is the first time that the EWrest evolution has been directly measured for Hβ+[O III] and [O II] emitters up to these redshifts. There is evidence for a slower evolution for z > 2 in the Hβ+[O III] EWrest and a decreasing trend for z > 3 in the [O II] EWrest evolution, which would imply low [O II] EW at the highest redshifts and higher [O III]/[O II] line ratios. This suggests that the ionization parameter at higher redshift may be significantly higher than the local Universe. Our results set the stage for future near-IR space-based spectroscopic surveys to test our extrapolated predictions and also produce z > 5 measurements to constrain the high-z end of the EWrest and [O III]/[O II] evolution.