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Title: Infrared dark clouds and star formation : velocity gradients and deuteration
Author: Lackington Werner, Matias Andres
ISNI:       0000 0004 5369 4384
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2015
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In this thesis I present work done on the subject of star formation through the study of infrared dark clouds. We studied the velocity fields in several IRDCs using spectral line mapping. We also performed observations of a high density tracer and its deuterated counterpart. These observations allow me to assess the kinematics of these clouds and the evolutionary state of the observed targets. The sample observed is an important starting point for the search of early and quiescent high-mass regions. We mapped several IRDCs using the 22m ATNF Mopra Telescope in high-density molecular tracers at 3 mm, HNC (1-0) and N2H+ (1-0). We present integrated intensity emission and velocity field maps of these IRDCs. The molecular emission in the maps matches well with the extinction seen in the mid-IR. For an IRDC-complex we see connecting emission in the whole filament. We calculate kinematic distances and masses of the IRDCs. The IRDCs typically display an ordered velocity field within the clouds. The mean velocity gradient of the sample was 0.4 km/s/pc. We show how this velocity gradient can mean gas flows within the cloud into the central regions in order to feed the central cores. We observed 54 cores in IRDCs using N2H+ (1-0) and (3-2) to determine the kinematics of the densest material, where stars will form. We also observed N2D+ (3-2) towards 29 of the brightest peaks to analyze the level of deuteration which is an excellent probe of the quiescent of the early stages of star formation. There were 13 detections of N2D+ (3-2). This is one of the largest samples of IRDCs yet observed in these species. The deuteration ratio in the sources with detected N2D+ (3-2) has a mean of 0.024 and reaches a maximum value of 0.14. For most of the sources the material traced by N2D+ and N2H+ (3-2) still has significant turbulent motions, however three objects show subthermal N2D+ velocity dispersion. Surprisingly the presence or absence of an embedded 70 micron source shows no correlation with the detection of N2D+ (3-2), nor does it correlate with any change in velocity dispersion or excitation temperature. Comparison with recent models of deuteration suggest evolutionary timescales of these regions of several freefall times or less.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: CONICYT, Becas Chile
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: star formation ; infrared dark clouds ; velocity gradient ; deuteration ; interstellar medium