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Stellar Mass-Gas-phase Metallicity Relation at 0.5 ≤ z ≤ 0.7: A Power Law with Increasing Scatter toward the Low-mass Regime

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Yicheng Guo
  • David C. Koo
  • Yu Lu
  • Marc Rafelski
  • Jonathan R. Trump
  • Ricardo Amorín
  • Guillermo Barro
  • S. M. Faber
  • Nimish P. Hathi
  • Hassen Yesuf
  • Michael C. Cooper
  • Avishai Dekel
  • Puragra Guhathakurta
  • Evan N. Kirby
  • Anton M. Koekemoer
  • Pablo G. Pérez-González
  • Lihwai Lin
  • Jeffery A. Newman
  • Joel R. Primack
  • David J. Rosario
  • Christopher N. A. Willmer
  • Renbin Yan

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 11 May 2016


We present the stellar mass ({M}*)-gas-phase metallicity relation (MZR) and its scatter at intermediate redshifts (0.5≤slant z≤slant 0.7) for 1381 field galaxies collected from deep spectroscopic surveys. The star formation rate (SFR) and color at a given {M}* of this magnitude-limited (R≲ 24 AB) sample are representative of normal star-forming galaxies. For masses below 109 {M}⊙ , our sample of 237 galaxies is ˜10 times larger than those in previous studies beyond the local universe. This huge gain in sample size enables superior constraints on the MZR and its scatter in the low-mass regime. We find a power-law MZR at 108 {M}⊙ <{M}* \lt {10}11 {M}⊙ : 12+{log}(O/H)=(5.83+/- 0.19) +(0.30+/- 0.02){log}({M}*/{M}⊙ ). At 109 {M}⊙ <{M}* \lt {10}10.5 {M}⊙ , our MZR shows agreement with others measured at similar redshifts in the literature. Our power-law slope is, however, shallower than the extrapolation of the MZRs of others to masses below 109 {M}⊙ . The SFR dependence of the MZR in our sample is weaker than that found for local galaxies (known as the fundamental metallicity relation). Compared to a variety of theoretical models, the slope of our MZR for low-mass galaxies agrees well with predictions incorporating supernova energy-driven winds. Being robust against currently uncertain metallicity calibrations, the scatter of the MZR serves as a powerful diagnostic of the stochastic history of gas accretion, gas recycling, and star formation of low-mass galaxies. Our major result is that the scatter of our MZR increases as {M}* decreases. Our result implies that either the scatter of the baryonic accretion rate ({σ }\dot{M}) or the scatter of the {M}*-{M}{halo} relation ({σ }{SHMR}) increases as {M}* decreases. Moreover, our measure of scatter at z=0.7 appears consistent with that found for local galaxies. This lack of redshift evolution constrains models of galaxy evolution to have both {σ }\dot{M} and {σ }{SHMR} remain unchanged from z=0.7 to z = 0.

    Research areas

  • galaxies: abundances, galaxies: dwarf, galaxies: evolution, galaxies: formation, galaxies: fundamental parameters, galaxies: ISM

ID: 57684526