Surface density: a new parameter in the fundamental metallicity relation of star-forming galaxies.
Star-forming galaxies display a close relation among stellar mass, metallicity and star-formation rate (or molecular-gas mass). This is known as the fundamental metallicity relation (FMR) (or molecular-gas FMR), and it has a profound implication on models of galaxy evolution. However, there still remains a significant residual scatter around the FMR. We show here that a fourth parameter, the surface density of stellar mass, reduces the dispersion around the molecular-gas FMR. In a principal component analysis of 29 physical parameters of 41,338 star-forming galaxies, the surface density of stellar mass is found to be the fourth most important parameter. The new four-dimensional fundamental relation forms a tighter hypersurface that reduces the metallicity dispersion to 50\% of that of the molecular-gas FMR. We suggest that future analyses and models of galaxy evolution should consider the FMR in a four-dimensional space that includes surface density. The dilution time scale of gas inflow and the star-formation efficiency could explain the observational dependence on surface density of stellar mass.
Publisher URL: http://arxiv.org/abs/1801.05808
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