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Galactic Winds and Structure of z~2 Star-forming Galaxies


Galactic-scale outflows are a key driver of galaxy evolution through their feedback effect on star-formation and their ejection of metals and energy into the inter-galactic medium (IGM). While it is known that outflows likely play an important role in the quenching of star-formation - transforming actively star-forming, blue galaxies into their `red and dead' counterparts - this role is currently not well understood. In particular, at z~2, during the most active epoch of star-formation, the mass and energy in these outflows is poorly constrained, as is the mechanism for launching them. Furthermore, active-galactic nuclei (AGN) in the centers of massive star-forming galaxies (SFGs) likely play an important role in star-formation quenching, but we do not have a clear understanding of how this AGN feedback compares with that of star-formation driven feedback, and it is not known how many of these massive SFGs at z~2 even have AGN. This issue is complicated by the fact that many high-z AGN are likely highly obscured, and have strong nebular emission line contributions from both star-formation and the AGN.

In this dissertation, I explore these issues using high-spatial and spectral resolution integral field unit spectroscopic data of z~2 SFGs. The observations are obtained with the instrument SINFONI on the European Southern Observatory (ESO) Very Large Telescope (VLT) at Cerro Paranal. These high-quality data allow spatially-resolved studies of the gas-phase kinematics of these galaxies, as well dynamical information on their outflows. In this work, I explore outflow properties in one galaxy with exceptionally deep data, allowing detailed examination of the outflow energetics, spatial extent and underlying ISM properties, as well those from a larger sample of galaxies. I also probe the fraction of SFGs in our sample which contain (possibly obscured) AGN, and study how this affects our determination of galaxy properties, such as gas-phase metallicity. Finally, I study a subsample of z~2 galaxies whose turbulent velocities dominate the kinematic signature, and examine the link between the overall evolution of z~2 galaxies and the systems we see today. Together this body of work explores how galactic-scale outflows in z~2 SFGs are launched, effect the IGM and eventually shape the evolution of their host galaxies.

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