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The early stages of massive star formation: tracing the physical and chemical conditions in hot cores

Calcutt, HM; (2015) The early stages of massive star formation: tracing the physical and chemical conditions in hot cores. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Molecules are essential to the formation of stars, by allowing radiation to escape the cloud and cooling to occur. Over 180 molecules have been detected in interstellar environments, ranging from comets to interstellar clouds. Their spectra are useful probes of the conditions in which these molecules form. Comparison of rest frequencies to observed frequencies can provide information about the velocity of gas and indicate physical structures. The density, temperature, and excitation conditions of gas can be determined directly from the spectra of molecules. Furthermore, by taking a chemical inventory of a particular object, one can gain an understanding of the chemical processes occurring within a cloud. The class of molecules known as complex molecules (>6 atoms), are of particular interest when probing the conditions in massive starforming environments, as they are observed to trace a more compact region than smaller molecules. This thesis details the work of my PhD, to explore how complex molecules can be used to trace the physical and chemical conditions in hot cores (HCs), one of the earliest stages of massive star formation. This work combines both the observations and chemical modelling of several different massive star-forming regions. We identify molecular transitions observed in the spectra of these regions, and calculate column densities and rotation temperatures of these molecules (Chapters 2 and 3). In Chapter 4, we chemically model the HCs, and perform a comparison between observational column densities and chemical modelling column densities. In Chapter 5, we look at the abundance ratio of three isomers, acetic acid, glycolaldehyde, and methyl formate, to ascertain whether this ratio can be used as an indicator of HC evolution. Finally, we explore the chemistry of the HC IRAS 17233–3606, to identify emission features in the spectra, and determine column densities and rotation temperatures of the detected molecules.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: The early stages of massive star formation: tracing the physical and chemical conditions in hot cores
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1465048
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