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Durham University

Department of Physics

Staff profile

Publication details for Professor Ian Smail

Matthee, J., Sobral, D., Best, P., Smail, I., Bian, F., Darvish, B., Röttgering, H. & Fan, X. (2017). Boötes-HiZELS: an optical to near-infrared survey of emission-line galaxies at z = 0.4-4.7. MNRAS 471(1): 629-649.

Author(s) from Durham


We present a sample of ∼1000 emission-line galaxies at z = 0.4–4.7 from the ∼0.7deg2 High-z Emission-Line Survey in the Boötes field identified with a suite of six narrow-band filters at ≈0.4–2.1 μm. These galaxies have been selected on their Ly α (73), [O II] (285), H β/[O III] (387) or H α (362) emission line, and have been classified with optical to near-infrared colours. A subsample of 98 sources have reliable redshifts from multiple narrow-band (e.g. [O II]–H α) detections and/or spectroscopy. In this survey paper, we present the observations, selection and catalogues of emitters. We measure number densities of Ly α, [O II], H β/[O III] and H α and confirm strong luminosity evolution in star-forming galaxies from z ∼ 0.4 to ∼5, in agreement with previous results. To demonstrate the usefulness of dual-line emitters, we use the sample of dual [O II]–H α emitters to measure the observed [O II]/H α ratio at z = 1.47. The observed [O II]/H α ratio increases significantly from 0.40 ± 0.01 at z = 0.1 to 0.52 ± 0.05 at z = 1.47, which we attribute to either decreasing dust attenuation with redshift, or due to a bias in the (typically) fibre measurements in the local Universe that only measure the central kpc regions. At the bright end, we find that both the H α and Ly α number densities at z ≈ 2.2 deviate significantly from a Schechter form, following a power law. We show that this is driven entirely by an increasing X-ray/active galactic nucleus fraction with line luminosity, which reaches ≈100 per cent at line luminosities L ≳ 3 × 1044 erg s−1.