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dc.contributor.advisorCirasuolo, Michele
dc.contributor.advisorMcLure, Ross
dc.contributor.advisorDunlop, James
dc.contributor.authorCullen, Fergus
dc.date.accessioned2016-07-12T12:42:05Z
dc.date.available2016-07-12T12:42:05Z
dc.date.issued2015-11-26
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1842/15953
dc.description.abstractUntil recently, obtaining rest-frame optical spectra of galaxies at z > 1 was a time consuming and challenging observation due to the difficult nature of near-infrared (near-IR) spectroscopy. However, with the advent of second generation ground-based near-IR spectrographs (e.g. KMOS, MOSFIRE), and the new low resolution near-IR grisms on the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), we have entered a new era in the study of high redshift galaxies. This thesis explores the physical properties of star-forming galaxies in the redshift range 1 < z < 3 by utilising a custom reduction of the 3D-HST near-IR grism spectroscopic survey. One of the most important observational constraints on the evolution of galaxies is the mass-metallicity relation (MZR), which is sensitive to both the star-formation history and various inflow/outflow processes. I use the 3D-HST spectra to provide a new constraint on the MZR at 2:0 < z < 2:3, and moreover measure the O/H abundance directly from the oxygen and hydrogen emission lines ([OII], [OIII] and Hβ) as opposed to the more common method at high redshift of inferring O/H from the N/H ratio (via [NII] and Hα). I show that the traditional form of the MZR is recovered from the 3D-HST data, with metallicity increasing with the stellar mass of a galaxy. However, the absolute metallicity values I derive are inconsistent with previous N/H-based measurements of metallicity at these redshifts. Moreover, I show that the 3D-HST data is inconsistent with the `fundamental metallicity relation' (FMR), and that, contrary to previous claims, this local Universe relation may not hold out to z & 2. To investigate this metallicity discrepancy further, I measure the evolution of the [OIII]/Hβ nebular emission line ratio in the 3D-HST spectra over the redshift range 1:3 < z < 2:3. I compare this observed line ratio evolution with state-of-the- art theoretical models which take into account the independent evolution of the ionization parameter, electron density and metallicity of star-forming regions with redshift. The homogeneous 3D-HST dataset allows me to perform a consistent analysis of this evolution which takes into account line luminosity selection effects. I show that, according to models, the observed [OIII]/Hβ evolution cannot be accounted for by pure metallicity evolution. Instead I am able to infer that the line ratio evolution is more consistent with, at the very least, an evolution to stronger ionizing conditions at high redshift, and perhaps even denser star-forming regions. I explore how this result can also explain the observed discrepancy between high redshift metallicity measurements. In light of this finding, I revisit the MZR at z >~ 2 and employ a purely theoretical approach to inferring metallicities from nebular lines, which is able to account for an evolution in ionization conditions. I then use a selection of galaxies from the local Universe, which mimic the properties of high redshift galaxies, to derive a more robust ionization sensitive, conversion, between N/H and O/H. With this new conversion which I am able to bring the previous inconsistent metallicity measurements at z >~ 2 back into agreement. Finally, I am able to show that, in this new formalism, the metallicity evolution between z = 2 and z = 3 is perhaps not as large as previously reported. To conclude I discuss ongoing work as part of the KMOS Deep Survey (KDS) being undertaken with the near near-IR Multi-Object Spectrograph KMOS on the VLT. I describe the observations and data reduction that has been completed to date and describe how this instrument will allow me to extend the work presented in this thesis to z > 3. I also introduce FIGS, a new HST near-IR grism survey seeking to spectroscopically identify galaxies at 5:5 < z < 8:5 and work I have begun in exploring this dataset.en
dc.contributor.sponsorEngineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)en
dc.language.isoenen
dc.publisherThe University of Edinburghen
dc.relation.hasversionCullen F., Cirasuolo M., McLure R. J., Dunlop J. S., Bowler R. A. A., 2014, MNRAS, 440, 2300en
dc.subjectgalaxy formationen
dc.subjectcosmic star-formationen
dc.subjectemissionsen
dc.subjecthigh redshiftsen
dc.subjectoxygen levelen
dc.subjectmetallicity measurementen
dc.titleEvolution of emission line properties and metallicities of star-forming galaxies up to z ~ 3en
dc.typeThesis or Dissertationen
dc.type.qualificationlevelDoctoralen
dc.type.qualificationnamePhD Doctor of Philosophyen


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