Fragmentation of star-forming clouds enriched with the first dust

Raffaella Schneider, Kazuyuki Omukai, Akio K. Inoue, Andrea Ferrara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

260 Citations (Scopus)


The thermal and fragmentation properties of star forming clouds have important consequences on the corresponding characteristic stellar mass. The initial composition of the gas within these clouds is a record of the nucleosynthetic products of previous stellar generations. In this paper, we present a model for the evolution of star forming clouds enriched by metals and dust from the first supernovae (SNe), resulting from the explosions of metal-free progenitors with masses in the range and. Using a self-consistent approach, we show that: (i) metals depleted on to dust grains play a fundamental role, enabling fragmentation to solar or subsolar mass scales already at metallicities ; (ii) even at metallicities as high as , metals diffused in the gas phase lead to fragment mass scales which are ; (iii) C atoms are strongly depleted on to amorphous carbon grains and CO molecules so that C ii plays a minor role in gas cooling, leaving O i as the main gas-phase cooling agent in low-metallicity clouds. These conclusions hold independently of the assumed SN progenitors and suggest that the onset of low-mass star formation is conditioned to the presence of dust in the parent clouds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1437-1444
Number of pages8
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Jul


  • Cosmology: theory
  • Dust, extinction
  • Galaxies: evolution
  • Galaxies: stellar content
  • ISM: abundances
  • Stars: formation
  • Supernovae: general


Dive into the research topics of 'Fragmentation of star-forming clouds enriched with the first dust'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this