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. Amorín, R. Begley, M. Bolzonella, A. Calabrò, 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

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45 Citations (Scopus)


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 ∝ M∗0.3. 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
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2021


  • Galaxies: abundances
  • Galaxies: high redshift

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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