A new approach to determine the initial mass function in the solar neighborhood

Takuji Tsujimoto, Yuzuru Yoshii, Ken'ichi Nomoto, Francesca Matteucci, Friedrich Karl Thielemann, Masaaki Hashimoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


Oxygen to iron abundance ratios of metal-poor stars provide information on nucleosynthesis yields from massive stars that end in Type II supernova (SN II) explosions. Using a standard model of chemical evolution of the Galaxy we have reproduced the solar neighborhood abundance data and estimated the oxygen and iron yields of genuine SN II origin. The estimated yields are compared with the theoretical yields to derive the relation between the lower and upper mass limits in each generation of stars and the initial mass function (IMF) slope. Independent of this relation, we furthermore derive the relation between the lower mass limit and the IMF slope from the stellar mass-to-light ratio in the solar neighborhood. These independent relations unambiguously determine the upper mass limit of mu = 50 ± 10 M and the IMF slope index of 1.3-1.6 above 1 M. This upper mass limit corresponds to the mass beyond which stars end as black holes without ejecting processed matter into the interstellar medium. We also find that the IMF slope index below 0.5 M cannot be much shallower than 0.8.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)228-234
Number of pages7
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 PART I
Publication statusPublished - 1997

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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