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Title: Population synthesis models for IMF studies
Author: Orsi, Maia
ISNI:       0000 0004 5350 4771
Awarding Body: Liverpool John Moores University
Current Institution: Liverpool John Moores University
Date of Award: 2014
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Population synthesis models (PSMs) are fundamental tools to study the star formation history and IMF of unresolved stellar populations using spectral features. This work presents a new set of PSMs constructed using theoretical isochrones and two state-ofthe- art synthetic spectral libraries. The BT-Settl and Munari libraries were chosen for their ability to predict the observed values of Lick-type and IMF-sensitive indices in individual stars of the solar neighbourhood. The BT-Settl library was used to sample the cool main sequence stars and the Munari library for the rest of the evolutionary phases. The PSMs cover a range of metallicities with [Fe/H]= 0, -1.31 and -1.81 for scaled-solar and α-enhanced metal mixtures. The models were used to study the behaviour of the IMF indices defined in the literature and the results are in good agreement with what other PSMs have determined. The PSMs in this work predict a strong degeneracy between age, metallicity and IMF. I used the models to study which are the main evolutionary phases contributing to each IMF-sensitive index and found that most indices reach their final integrated values before the turn off. The post-main sequence stars contribute mainly to the continuum of these bands. Uncertainties in the the effective temperature of the isochrones can affect IMF estimates. The PSMs were applied to extragalactic globular clusters (GCs) and early-type galaxies (ETGs) using data from the literature. I determined the ages, metallicities and IMFs of these systems using index combinations in the optical and infrared. I explored how the morphology of the Horizontal Branch (HB) and dynamical evolution (which are key uncertainties in the modelling of GCs) can affect the IMF predictions. In a population with a Milky Way IMF, dynamical evolution can make the IMF indices mimic a bottom-light IMF. HB morphology has no impact on the IMF estimates at low [Fe/H]. In the IMF index-index diagrams for GCs, the results are significantly affected by the unknown sodium abundances of these systems. Using the PSMs in this work the best index combination to determine the IMF is CaH1 and TiO2. The ETGs and the [Fe/H]=0 GCs appear to have a bottom-heavy IMF with x ~ 3:0. These results are discussed in the work.
Supervisor: Salaris, Maurizio Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: stellar populations ; initial mass function ; population synthesis models ; spectral libraries