The NIRVANDELS Survey: a robust detection of α-enhancement in star-forming galaxies at z ≃ 3.4

F. Cullen*, A. E. Shapley, R. J. McLure, J. S. Dunlop, R. L. Sanders, M. W. Topping, N. A. Reddy, R. Amorin, R. Begley, M. Bolzonella, A. Calabro, A. C. Carnall, M. Castellano, A. Cimatti, M Cirasuolo, G. Cresci, A. Fontana, F. Fontanot, B. Garilli, L. GuaitaM. Hamadouche, N. P. Hathi, F. Mannucci, D. J. McLeod, L. Pentericci, A. Saxena, M. Talia, G. Zamorani

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present results from the NIRVANDELS survey on the gas-phase metallicity (Zg, tracing O/H) and stellar metallicity (Z, tracing Fe/H) of 33 star-forming galaxies at redshifts 2.95 < z < 3.80. Based on a combined analysis of deep optical and near-IR spectra, tracing the rest-frame far-ultraviolet (FUV; 1200–2000 Å) and rest-frame optical (3400–5500 Å), respectively, we present the first simultaneous determination of the stellar and gas-phase mass–metallicity relationships (MZRs) at z ≃ 3.4. In both cases, we find that metallicity increases with increasing stellar mass (M) and that the power-law slope at M ≲ 1010M of both MZRs scales as Z∝M0.3⋆⁠. Comparing the stellar and gas-phase MZRs, we present direct evidence for super-solar O/Fe ratios (i.e. α-enhancement) at z > 3, finding (O/Fe) = 2.54 ± 0.38 × (O/Fe), with no clear dependence on M.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)903-920
Number of pages18
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
Early online date12 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2021


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