Metallicity effects on mid-infrared colors and the 8 µm PAH emission in galaxies.
ENGELBRACHT C.W., GORDON K.D., RIEKE G.H., WERNER M.W., DALE D.A. and LATTER W.B.
Abstract (from CDS):
We examine colors from 3.6 to 24 µm as a function of metallicity (O/H) for a sample of 34 galaxies. The galaxies range over 2 orders of magnitude in metallicity. They display an abrupt shift in the 8 µm-to-24 µm color for metallicities between one-third and one-fifth of the solar value. The mean 8-to-24 µm flux density ratio below and above 12+log(O/H)=8.2 is 0.08±0.04 and 0.70±0.53, respectively. We use mid-IR colors and spectroscopy to demonstrate that the shift is primarily due to a decrease in the 8 µm flux density, as opposed to an increase in the 24 µm flux density. This result is most simply interpreted as being due to a weakening at low metallicity of the mid-IR emission bands usually attributed to PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) relative to the small-grain dust emission. However, existing empirical spectral energy distribution models cannot account for the observed short-wavelength (below 8 µm) colors of the low-metallicity galaxies merely by reducing the strength of the PAH features; some other emission source (e.g., hot dust) is required.
Galaxies: ISM - Infrared: Galaxies