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Durham University

Department of Physics

Staff profile

Publication details for Professor Ian Smail

Stott, J.P., Sobral, D., Bower, R., Smail, I., Best, P.N., Matsuda, Y., Hayashi, M., Geach, J.E. & Kodama, T. (2013). A fundamental metallicity relation for galaxies at z = 0.84-1.47 from HiZELS. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 436(2): 1130-1141.

Author(s) from Durham


We obtained Subaru FMOS observations of Hα emitting galaxies selected from the HiZELS, to investigate the relationship between stellar mass, metallicity and star formation rate (SFR) at z = 0.84–1.47, for comparison with the fundamental metallicity relation seen at low redshift. Our findings demonstrate, for the first time with a homogeneously selected sample, that a relationship exists for typical star-forming galaxies at z ∼ 1–1.5 and that it is surprisingly similar to that seen locally. Therefore, star-forming galaxies at z ∼ 1–1.5 are no less metal abundant than galaxies of similar mass and SFR at z ∼ 0.1, contrary to claims from some earlier studies. We conclude that the bulk of the metal enrichment for this star-forming galaxy population takes place in the 4 Gyr before z ∼ 1.5. We fit a new mass–metallicity–SFR plane to our data which is consistent with other high-redshift studies. However, there is some evidence that the mass–metallicity component of this high-redshift plane is flattened, at all SFR, compared with z ∼ 0.1, suggesting that processes such as star formation-driven winds, thought to remove enriched gas from low-mass haloes, are yet to have as large an impact at this early epoch. The negative slope of the SFR–metallicity relation from this new plane is consistent with the picture that the elevation in the SFR of typical galaxies at z ≳ 1 is fuelled by the inflow of metal-poor gas and not major merging.