The sins survey: Sinfoni integral field spectroscopy of z 2 star-forming galaxies

N. M. Förster Schreiber, R. Genzel, N. Bouché, G. Cresci, R. Davies, P. Buschkamp, K. Shapiro, L. J. Tacconi, E. K.S. Hicks, S. Genel, A. E. Shapley, D. K. Erb, C. C. Steidel, D. Lutz, F. Eisenhauer, S. Gillessen, A. Sternberg, A. Renzini, A. Cimatti, E. DaddiJ. Kurk, S. Lilly, X. Kong, M. D. Lehnert, N. Nesvadba, A. Verma, H. McCracken, N. Arimoto, M. Mignoli, M. Onodera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present the Spectroscopic Imaging survey in the near-infrared (near-IR) with SINFONI (SINS) of high-redshift galaxies. With 80 objects observed and 63 detected in at least one rest-frame optical nebular emission line, mainly Hα, SINS represents the largest survey of spatially resolved gas kinematics, morphologies, and physical properties of star-forming galaxies at z 1-3. We describe the selection of the targets, the observations, and the data reduction. We then focus on the "SINS Hα sample," consisting of 62 rest-UV/optically selected sources at 1.3 < z < 2.6 for which we targeted primarily the Hα and [N II] emission lines. Only ≈ 30% of this sample had previous near-IR spectroscopic observations. The galaxies were drawn from various imaging surveys with different photometric criteria; as a whole, the SINS Hα sample covers a reasonable representation of massive M* ≳ 1010 M ·star-forming galaxies at z 1.5-2.5, with some bias toward bluer systems compared to pure K-selected samples due to the requirement of secure optical redshift. The sample spans 2 orders of magnitude in stellar mass and in absolute and specific star formation rates, with median values ≈ 3 × 1010 M ·, ≈ 70 M· yr-1, and 3 Gyr-1. The ionized gas distribution and kinematics are spatially resolved on scales ranging from 1.5 kpc for adaptive optics assisted observations to typically 4-5 kpc for seeing-limited data. The Hα morphologies tend to be irregular and/or clumpy. About one-third of the SINS Hα sample galaxies are rotation-dominated yet turbulent disks, another one-third comprises compact and velocity dispersion-dominated objects, and the remaining galaxies are clear interacting/merging systems; the fraction of rotation-dominated systems increases among the more massive part of the sample. The Hα luminosities and equivalent widths suggest on average roughly twice higher dust attenuation toward the H II regions relative to the bulk of the stars, and comparable current and past-averaged star formation rates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1364-1428
Number of pages65
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2009


  • Galaxies: evolution
  • Galaxies: high-redshift
  • Galaxies: kinematics and dynamics
  • Infrared: galaxies Online-only material: color figures


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