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Paper IPM / Astronomy / 16625  


Abstract:  
In this paper, we present a new method to constrain the metallicities of high redshift damped Ly[Math Processing Error] (DLA) absorbers using observed extinction curves. This is the first time such an approach is employed to constrain the metallicities of extragalactic absorbers. To demonstrate our method, we use the spectra of 13 quasars and one GRB with DLA absorbers detected along their sightlines. By using the KramersKronig (KK) relation, which relates the wavelengthintegrated extinction to the total volume occupied by dust per hydrogen nucleon, we set some robust lower limits on the metallicity of the DLAs. The resulting lower limits are all consistent with the DLA metallicities from the literature. The GRB extinction curve exhibits a very strong 2175 A extinction bump. We try to constrain the metallicity of the GRB DLA by modeling the GRB extinction curve using dust models with two (graphite and silicates) and three (PAH, hydrogenated amorphous carbon, and silicates) dust components. The twocomponent model resulted in a metallicity of [Math Processing Error][Math Processing Error]0.45 while the threecomponent model gives [Math Processing Error][Math Processing Error]0.50. On the other hand, the lower limit from the KK approach for this DLA is [Math Processing Error][Math Processing Error]0.60. Modeling a large sample of extinction curves with 2175 A extinction bump and measured DLA metallicities would allow a thorough comparison between the KK and the modeldependent approach. In cases where the precise measurement of the metallicity of a DLA is not possible (e.g. due to the saturation of important absorption lines), the approach presented in this paper can be used to constrain the metallicity
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