LOFAR Properties of SILVERRUSH Lyα Emitter Candidates in the ELAIS-N1 Field

A J Gloudemans, K. J. Duncan, Rohit Kondapally, J. Sabater, R K Cochrane, H. J. A. Röttgering, P. N. Best, M. Bonato, M Bondi, K Malek, I. McCheyne, D. J. B. Smith, I Prandoni, L Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Lyman alpha emitters (LAEs) in the Epoch of Reionization (EoR) offer valuable probes of both early galaxy evolution and the process of reionization itself; however, the exact evolution of their abundance and the nature of their emission remain open questions. We combine samples of 229 and 349 LAE candidates at z = 5.7 and z = 6.6, respectively, from the SILVERRUSH narrowband survey with deep Low Frequency Array (LOFAR) radio continuum observations in the European Large Area Infrared Space Observatory Survey-North 1 (ELAIS-N1) field to search for radio galaxies in the EoR and study the low-frequency radio properties of z ≳ 5.7 LAE emitters. Our LOFAR observations reach an unprecedented noise level of ~20 μJy beam−1 at 150 MHz, and we detect five candidate LAEs at >5σ significance. Based on detailed spectral energy distribution modelling of independent multi-wavelength observations in the field, we conclude that these sources are likely [OII] emitters at z = 1.47, yielding no reliable z ≳ 5.7 radio galaxy candidates. We examine the 111 z = 5.7 and z = 6.6 LAE candidates from our panchromatic photometry catalogue that are undetected by LOFAR, finding contamination rates of 81–92% for the z = 5.7 and z = 6.6 subset of the LAE candidate samples. This subset of the full sample is biased towards brighter magnitudes and redder near-infrared colours. The contamination rates of the full sample will therefore likely be lower than the reported values. Contamination of these optically bright LAE samples by likely [OII] emitters is lowered significantly through constraints on the near-infrared colours, highlighting the need for infrared observations to robustly identify bright LAEs in narrowband surveys. Finally, the stacking of radio continuum observations for the robust LAE samples yields 2σ upper limits on radio luminosity of 8.2 × 1023 and 8.7 × 1023 W Hz−1 at z = 5.7 and 6.6, respectively, corresponding to limits on their median star-formation rates of <53 and <56 M yr−1.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberA7
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Publication statusPublished - 7 Apr 2021

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