EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 423, Number 3, September I 2004
Page(s) 867 - 880
Section Extragalactic astronomy
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20035740

A&A 423, 867-880 (2004)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20035740

The Luminosity-Metallicity relation of distant luminous infrared galaxies

Y. C. Liang1, 2, F. Hammer1, H. Flores1, D. Elbaz3, D. Marcillac3 and C. J. Cesarsky4

1  GEPI, Observatoire de Paris, Section de Meudon, 92195 Meudon Cedex, France
    e-mail: [Yanchun.Liang;francois.hammer]@obspm.fr
2  National Astronomical Observatories, Chinese Academy of Sciences, No. 20A Datun Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100012, PR China
    e-mail: ycliang@ns.bao.ac.cn
3  CEA, Saclay-Service d'Astrophysique, Orme des Merisiers, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette Cedex, France
4  ESO, Karl-Schwarzschild Strasse 2, 85748 Garching bei Munchen, Germany

(Received 25 November 2003 / Accepted 26 April 2004)

One hundred and five 15  $\mu$m-selected objects in three ISO ( $\it Infrared~Space~Observatory$) deep survey fields (CFRS 3 $^{\rm h}$, UDSR and UDSF) are studied on the basis of their high-quality optical spectra with resolution  R>1000 from VLT/FORS2. ~92 objects (88%) have secure redshifts, ranging from 0 to 1.16 with a median value of  $z_{\rm med}=0.587$.

Considerable care is taken in estimating the extinction properties of individual galaxy, which can seriously affect diagnostic diagrams and estimates of star formation rates (SFRs) and of metal abundances. Two independent estimates of the extinction have been made, e.g. Balmer line ratio and energy balance between infrared (IR) and H $\beta$ luminosities. For most of the sources, we find a good agreement between the two extinction coefficients (within  $\pm$0.64 rms in  AV, the extinction in V band), with median values of AV(IR ) = 2.36 and  AV(Balmer )= 1.82 for  z>0.4 luminous IR galaxies (LIRGs). At  z >0.4, our sample show many properties (IR luminosity, continuum color, ionization and extinction) strikingly in common with those of local (IRAS) LIRGs studied by Veilleux et al. (1995). Thus, our sample can provide a good representation of LIRGs in the distant Universe.

We confirm that most ( >77%) ISO 15  $\mu$m-selected galaxies are dominated by star formation. Oxygen abundances in interstellar medium in the galaxies are estimated from the extinction-corrected "strong" emission line ratios (e.g. $\ion{[O}{ii]}$/H $\beta$, $\ion{[O}{iii]}$/H $\beta$ and $\ion{[O}{iii]}$/ $\ion{[O}{ii]}$). The derived 12+log(O/H) values range from 8.36 to 8.93 for the  z>0.4 galaxies with a median value of 8.67. Distant LIRGs present a metal content less than half of that of the local bright disks (i.e.  L*). Their properties can be reproduced with infall models although one has to limit the infall time to avoid overproduction of metals at late times. The models predict that total masses (gas + stars) of the distant LIRGs are from  $10^{11}~M_{\odot}$ to  $\le$ $10^{12}~M_{\odot}$. A significant fraction of distant large disks are indeed LIRGs. Such massive disks could have formed ~50% of their metals and stellar masses since  $z\sim1$.

Key words: galaxies: abundances -- galaxies: evolution -- galaxies: ISM -- galaxies: photometry -- galaxies: spiral -- galaxies: starburst

SIMBAD Objects

© ESO 2004

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