The birth mass function of Pop III stars

Muhammad A. Latif, Daniel Whalen, Sadegh Khochfar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Population III (Pop III) stars ended the cosmic Dark Ages and began early cosmological reionization and chemical enrichment. However, in spite of their importance to the evolution of the early Universe, their properties remain uncertain because of limitations to previous numerical simulations and the lack of any observational constraints. Here we investigate Pop III star formation in five primordial halos with 3D radiation-hydrodynamical cosmological simulations. We find that multiple stars form in each minihalo and that their numbers increase over time, with up to 23 stars forming in one of the halos. Radiative feedback from the stars generates strong outflows, deforms the surrounding protostellar disk, and delays star formation for a few thousand years. Star formation rates vary with halo and depend on mass accretion onto the disk, halo spin number, and the fraction of massive stars in the halo. Stellar masses in our models range from 0.1-37 M , and of the 55 stars that form in our models twelve are >10 M and most of the others are 1-10 M . Our simulations thus suggest that Pop III stars have characteristic masses of 1-10 M and a top-heavy IMF with dN/dM ∝ M*−1.18. Up to 70% of the stars are ejected from their disks by three-body interactions which, along with ionizing UV feedback, limits their final masses.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Astrophysical Journal
Publication statusAccepted for publication - 10 Nov 2021


  • method: numerical
  • early universe
  • galaxies: high-redshift
  • dark ages, reionization, first stars


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