1 Institute of Theoretical Physics and Astronomy, Vilnius University, Saulėtekio al. 3, 10257 Vilnius, Lithuania
2 Université Côte d’Azur, Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur, CNRS, Laboratoire Lagrange, Bd de l’Observatoire, CS_34229, 06304 Nice Cedex 4, France
3 Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0HA, UK
4 INAF–Padova Observatory, Vicolo dell’Osservatorio 5, 35122 Padova, Italy
Received: 1 September 2016
Accepted: 24 November 2016
Context. The pattern of chemical abundance ratios in stellar populations of the Milky Way is a fingerprint of the Galactic chemical history. In order to interpret such chemical fossils of Galactic archaeology, chemical evolution models have to be developed. However, despite the complex physics included in the most recent models, significant discrepancies between models and observations are widely encountered.
Aims. The aim of this paper is to characterise the abundance patterns of five iron-peak elements (Mn, Fe, Ni, Cu, and Zn) for which the stellar origin and chemical evolution are still debated.
Methods. We automatically derived iron peak (Mn, Fe, Ni, Cu, and Zn) and α element (Mg) chemical abundances for 4666 stars, adopting classical LTE spectral synthesis and 1D atmospheric models. Our observational data collection is composed of high-resolution, high signal-to-noise ratios HARPS and FEROS spectra, which were previously parametrised by the AMBRE project.
Results. We used the bimodal distribution of the magnesium-to-iron abundance ratios to chemically classify our sample stars into different Galactic substructures: thin disc, metal-poor and high-α metal rich, high-α, and low-α metal-poor populations. Both high-α and low-α metal-poor populations are fully distinct in Mg, Cu, and Zn, but these substructures are statistically indistinguishable in Mn and Ni. Thin disc trends of [Ni/Fe] and [Cu/Fe] are very similar and show a small increase at supersolar metallicities. Also, both thin and thick disc trends of Ni and Cu are very similar and indistinguishable. Yet, Mn looks very different from Ni and Cu. [Mn/Fe] trends of thin and thick discs actually have noticeable differences: the thin disc is slightly Mn richer than the thick disc. The [Zn/Fe] trends look very similar to those of [α/Fe] trends. The typical dispersion of results in both discs is low (≈0.05 dex for [Mg, Mn, and Cu/Fe]) and is even much lower for [Ni/Fe] (≈0.035 dex).
Conclusions. It is clearly demonstrated that Zn is an α-like element and could be used to separate thin and thick disc stars. Moreover, we show that the [Mn/Mg] ratio could also be a very good tool for tagging Galactic substructures. From the comparison with Galactic chemical evolutionary models, we conclude that some recent models can partially reproduce the observed Mg, Zn, and, Cu behaviours in thin and thick discs and metal-poor sequences. Models mostly fail to reproduce Mn and Ni in all metallicity domains, however, models adopting yields normalised from solar chemical properties reproduce Mn and Ni better, suggesting that there is still a lack of realistic theoretical yields of some iron-peak elements. The very low scatter (≈0.05 dex) in thin and thick disc sequences could provide an observational constrain for Galactic evolutionary models that study the efficiency of stellar radial migration.
Key words: Galaxy / stars: abundances / Galaxy: stellar content / star: abundances
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