The definitive version of this paper is available from www.edpsciences.org/aaWe present a near-IR spectroscopic analysis of the intriguing DO white dwarf RE J0503-285. The IR spectrum fails to reveal evidence of the presence of a spatially unresolved, cool, late-type companion. Hence we have placed an approximate limit on the spectral-type and mass of a putative companion (later than M8, M < 0.085 M¤). This result rules out ongoing interaction between the white dwarf and a close companion with M ≥ 0.085 M¤ as responsible for the discrepancies between the observed photospheric abundances and model predictions. As the possibility remains that there is a cooler companion lying beyond the detection threshold of this study we use our modelling to estimate the improvement in sensitivity offered by a Spitzer observation
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