skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: COLD-MODE ACCRETION: DRIVING THE FUNDAMENTAL MASS–METALLICITY RELATION AT z ∼ 2

Abstract

We investigate the star formation rate (SFR) dependence on the stellar mass and gas-phase metallicity relation at z = 2 with MOSFIRE/Keck as part of the ZFIRE survey. We have identified 117 galaxies (1.98 ≤ z ≤ 2.56), with 8.9 ≤ log( M / M {sub ⊙}) ≤ 11.0, for which we can measure gas-phase metallicities. For the first time, we show a discernible difference between the mass–metallicity relation, using individual galaxies, when dividing the sample by low (<10 M {sub ⊙} yr{sup −1}) and high (>10 M {sub ⊙} yr{sup −1}) SFRs. At fixed mass, low star-forming galaxies tend to have higher metallicity than high star-forming galaxies. Using a few basic assumptions, we further show that the gas masses and metallicities required to produce the fundamental mass–metallicity relation and its intrinsic scatter are consistent with cold-mode accretion predictions obtained from the OWLS hydrodynamical simulations. Our results from both simulations and observations are suggestive that cold-mode accretion is responsible for the fundamental mass–metallicity relation at z = 2 and it demonstrates the direct relationship between cosmological accretion and the fundamental properties of galaxies.

Authors:
; ; ;  [1];  [2]; ;  [3];  [4]; ;  [5]; ;  [6];  [7]
  1. Swinburne University of Technology, Victoria 3122 (Australia)
  2. Department of Astronomy and Theoretical Astrophysics Center, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-3411 (United States)
  3. George P. and Cynthia Woods Mitchell Institute for Fundamental Physics and Astronomy, and Department of Physics and Astronomy, Texas A and M University, College Station, TX 77843-4242 (United States)
  4. Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, The Australian National University, Cotter Road, Weston Creek, ACT 2611 (Australia)
  5. Australian Astronomical Observatories, P.O. Box 915 North Ryde NSW 1670 (Australia)
  6. Leiden Observatory, Leiden University, P.O. Box 9513, 2300 RA Leiden (Netherlands)
  7. Department of Physics, University of California Davis, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22654270
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal Letters; Journal Volume: 826; Journal Issue: 1; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; COSMOLOGY; EVOLUTION; FORECASTING; GALAXIES; MASS; METALLICITY; RED SHIFT; SIMULATION; STARS

Citation Formats

Kacprzak, Glenn G., Glazebrook, Karl, Nanayakkara, Themiya, Allen, Rebecca J., Van de Voort, Freeke, Tran, Kim-Vy H., Alcorn, Leo, Yuan, Tiantian, Cowley, Michael, Spitler, Lee, Labbé, Ivo, Straatman, Caroline, and Tomczak, Adam, E-mail: gkacprzak@astro.swin.edu.au. COLD-MODE ACCRETION: DRIVING THE FUNDAMENTAL MASS–METALLICITY RELATION AT z ∼ 2. United States: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.3847/2041-8205/826/1/L11.
Kacprzak, Glenn G., Glazebrook, Karl, Nanayakkara, Themiya, Allen, Rebecca J., Van de Voort, Freeke, Tran, Kim-Vy H., Alcorn, Leo, Yuan, Tiantian, Cowley, Michael, Spitler, Lee, Labbé, Ivo, Straatman, Caroline, & Tomczak, Adam, E-mail: gkacprzak@astro.swin.edu.au. COLD-MODE ACCRETION: DRIVING THE FUNDAMENTAL MASS–METALLICITY RELATION AT z ∼ 2. United States. doi:10.3847/2041-8205/826/1/L11.
Kacprzak, Glenn G., Glazebrook, Karl, Nanayakkara, Themiya, Allen, Rebecca J., Van de Voort, Freeke, Tran, Kim-Vy H., Alcorn, Leo, Yuan, Tiantian, Cowley, Michael, Spitler, Lee, Labbé, Ivo, Straatman, Caroline, and Tomczak, Adam, E-mail: gkacprzak@astro.swin.edu.au. Wed . "COLD-MODE ACCRETION: DRIVING THE FUNDAMENTAL MASS–METALLICITY RELATION AT z ∼ 2". United States. doi:10.3847/2041-8205/826/1/L11.
@article{osti_22654270,
title = {COLD-MODE ACCRETION: DRIVING THE FUNDAMENTAL MASS–METALLICITY RELATION AT z ∼ 2},
author = {Kacprzak, Glenn G. and Glazebrook, Karl and Nanayakkara, Themiya and Allen, Rebecca J. and Van de Voort, Freeke and Tran, Kim-Vy H. and Alcorn, Leo and Yuan, Tiantian and Cowley, Michael and Spitler, Lee and Labbé, Ivo and Straatman, Caroline and Tomczak, Adam, E-mail: gkacprzak@astro.swin.edu.au},
abstractNote = {We investigate the star formation rate (SFR) dependence on the stellar mass and gas-phase metallicity relation at z = 2 with MOSFIRE/Keck as part of the ZFIRE survey. We have identified 117 galaxies (1.98 ≤ z ≤ 2.56), with 8.9 ≤ log( M / M {sub ⊙}) ≤ 11.0, for which we can measure gas-phase metallicities. For the first time, we show a discernible difference between the mass–metallicity relation, using individual galaxies, when dividing the sample by low (<10 M {sub ⊙} yr{sup −1}) and high (>10 M {sub ⊙} yr{sup −1}) SFRs. At fixed mass, low star-forming galaxies tend to have higher metallicity than high star-forming galaxies. Using a few basic assumptions, we further show that the gas masses and metallicities required to produce the fundamental mass–metallicity relation and its intrinsic scatter are consistent with cold-mode accretion predictions obtained from the OWLS hydrodynamical simulations. Our results from both simulations and observations are suggestive that cold-mode accretion is responsible for the fundamental mass–metallicity relation at z = 2 and it demonstrates the direct relationship between cosmological accretion and the fundamental properties of galaxies.},
doi = {10.3847/2041-8205/826/1/L11},
journal = {Astrophysical Journal Letters},
number = 1,
volume = 826,
place = {United States},
year = {Wed Jul 20 00:00:00 EDT 2016},
month = {Wed Jul 20 00:00:00 EDT 2016}
}
  • In the local universe, there is good evidence that, at a given stellar mass M, the gas-phase metallicity Z is anti-correlated with the star formation rate (SFR) of the galaxies. It has also been claimed that the resulting Z(M, SFR) relation is invariant with redshift—the so-called 'fundamental metallicity relation' (FMR). Given a number of difficulties in determining metallicities, especially at higher redshifts, the form of the Z(M, SFR) relation and whether it is really independent of redshift is still very controversial. To explore this issue at z > 2, we used VLT-SINFONI and Subaru-MOIRCS near-infrared spectroscopy of 20 zCOSMOS-deep galaxiesmore » at 2.1 < z < 2.5 to measure the strengths of up to five emission lines: [O II] λ3727, Hβ, [O III] λ5007, Hα, and [N II] λ6584. This near-infrared spectroscopy enables us to derive O/H metallicities, and also SFRs from extinction corrected Hα measurements. We find that the mass-metallicity relation (MZR) of these star-forming galaxies at z ≈ 2.3 is lower than the local Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) MZR by a factor of three to five, a larger change than found by Erb et al. using [N II]/Hα-based metallicities from stacked spectra. We discuss how the different selections of the samples and metallicity calibrations used may be responsible for this discrepancy. The galaxies show direct evidence that the SFR is still a second parameter in the MZR at these redshifts. However, determining whether the Z(M, SFR) relation is invariant with epoch depends on the choice of extrapolation used from local samples, because z > 2 galaxies of a given mass have much higher SFRs than the local SDSS galaxies. We find that the zCOSMOS galaxies are consistent with a non-evolving FMR if we use the physically motivated formulation of the Z(M, SFR) relation from Lilly et al., but not if we use the empirical formulation of Mannucci et al.« less
  • We present multi-wavelength imaging and near-IR spectroscopy for 10 gravitationally lensed galaxies at 0.9 < z < 2.5 selected from a new, large sample of strong lens systems in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Data Release 7. We derive stellar masses from the rest-frame UV to near-IR spectral energy distributions, star formation rates (SFRs) from the dust-corrected H{alpha} flux, and metallicities from the [N II]/H{alpha} flux ratio. We combine the lensed galaxies with a sample of 60 star-forming galaxies from the literature in the same redshift range for which measurements of [N II]/H{alpha} have been published. Due to the lensingmore » magnification, the lensed galaxies probe intrinsic stellar masses that are on average a factor of 11 lower than have been studied so far at these redshifts. They have specific SFRs that are an order of magnitude higher than seen for main-sequence star-forming galaxies at z {approx} 2. We measure an evolution of 0.16 {+-} 0.06 dex in the mass-metallicity relation between z {approx} 1.4 and z {approx} 2.2. In contrast to previous claims, the redshift evolution is smaller at low stellar masses. We do not see a correlation between metallicity and SFR at fixed stellar mass. The combined sample is in general agreement with the local fundamental relation between metallicity, stellar mass, and SFR from Mannucci et al. Using the Kennicutt-Schmidt law to infer gas fractions, we investigate the importance of gas inflows and outflows on the shape of the mass-metallicity relation using simple analytical models. This suggests that the Maiolino et al. calibration of the [N II]/H{alpha} flux ratio is biased high.« less
  • We present Keck/MOSFIRE observations of the role of environment in the formation of galaxies at z {approx} 2. Using K-band spectroscopy of H{alpha} and [N II] emission lines, we have analyzed the metallicities of galaxies within and around a z = 2.3 protocluster discovered in the HS1700+643 field. Our main sample consists of 23 protocluster and 20 field galaxies with estimates of stellar masses and gas-phase metallicities based on the N2 strong-line metallicity indicator. With these data we have examined the mass-metallicity relation with respect to environment at z {approx} 2. We find that field galaxies follow the well-established trendmore » between stellar mass and metallicity, such that more massive galaxies have larger metallicities. The protocluster galaxies, however, do not exhibit a dependence of metallicity on mass, with the low-mass protocluster galaxies showing an enhancement in metallicity compared to field galaxies spanning the same mass range. A comparison with galaxy formation models suggests that the mass-dependent environmental trend we observed can be qualitatively explained in the context of the recycling of ''momentum-driven'' galaxy wind material. Accordingly, winds are recycled on a shorter timescale in denser environments, leading to an enhancement in metallicity at fixed mass for all but the most massive galaxies. Future hydrodynamical simulations of z {approx} 2 overdensities matching the one in the HS1700 field will be crucial for understanding the origin of the observed environmental trend in detail.« less
  • Emission line diagnostic diagrams probing the ionization sources in galaxies, such as the Baldwin-Phillips-Terlevich (BPT) diagram, have been used extensively to distinguish active galactic nuclei (AGN) from purely star-forming galaxies. However, they remain poorly understood at higher redshifts. We shed light on this issue with an empirical approach based on a z ∼ 0 reference sample built from ∼300,000 Sloan Digital Sky Survey galaxies, from which we mimic selection effects due to typical emission line detection limits at higher redshift. We combine this low-redshift reference sample with a simple prescription for luminosity evolution of the global galaxy population to predictmore » the loci of high-redshift galaxies on the BPT and Mass-Excitation (MEx) diagnostic diagrams. The predicted bivariate distributions agree remarkably well with direct observations of galaxies out to z ∼ 1.5, including the observed stellar mass-metallicity (MZ) relation evolution. As a result, we infer that high-redshift star-forming galaxies are consistent with having normal interstellar medium (ISM) properties out to z ∼ 1.5, after accounting for selection effects and line luminosity evolution. Namely, their optical line ratios and gas-phase metallicities are comparable to that of low-redshift galaxies with equivalent emission-line luminosities. In contrast, AGN narrow-line regions may show a shift toward lower metallicities at higher redshift. While a physical evolution of the ISM conditions is not ruled out for purely star-forming galaxies and may be more important starting at z ≳ 2, we find that reliably quantifying this evolution is hindered by selections effects. The recipes provided here may serve as a basis for future studies toward this goal. Code to predict the loci of galaxies on the BPT and MEx diagnostic diagrams and the MZ relation as a function of emission line luminosity limits is made publicly available.« less
  • We present and discuss measurements of the gas-phase metallicity gradient in four gravitationally lensed galaxies at z = 2.0-2.4 based on adaptive optics-assisted imaging spectroscopy with the Keck II telescope. Three galaxies with well-ordered rotation reveal metallicity gradients with lower gas-phase metallicities at larger galactocentric radii. Two of these display gradients much steeper than found locally, while a third has one similar to that seen in local disk galaxies. The fourth galaxy exhibits complex kinematics indicative of an ongoing merger and reveals an 'inverted' gradient with lower metallicity in the central regions. By comparing our sample to similar data inmore » the literature for lower redshift galaxies, we determine that, on average, metallicity gradients must flatten by a factor of 2.6 {+-} 0.9 between z = 2.2 and the present epoch. This factor is in rough agreement with the size growth of massive galaxies, suggesting that inside-out growth can account for the evolution of metallicity gradients. Since the addition of our new data provides the first indication of a coherent picture of this evolution, we develop a simple model of chemical evolution to explain the collective data. We find that metallicity gradients and their evolution can be explained by the inward radial migration of gas together with a radial variation in the mass loading factor governing the ratio of outflowing gas to the local star formation rate. Average mass loading factors of {approx}< 2 are inferred from our model in good agreement with direct measurements of outflowing gas in z {approx_equal} 2 galaxies.« less