CICO                  VICO
Initiatives on Cosmic Origins
Research Projects
(some example larger-scale projects involving CICO & VICO researchers)
  1. DFRAC
    Deuterium Fractionation Astrochemistry and the Onset of Star Formation
    Determining the initial conditions of the star and star cluster formation process is crucial for testing theoretical models, including via numerical simulations. Deuteration astrochemistry offers a means to diagnose cold, dense regions in molecular clouds that are likely sites of future star formation. We are carrying out a combined theoretical and observational (especially with ALMA) program to use these methods to assess the initial conditions of massive star and star cluster formation (see Tan et al. 2013, 2016; Kong et al. 2015, 2017a,b; Goodson et al. 2016).
    Galaxy-Zoom: The Galactic Star Formation Hierarchy
    The goal is to understand the coupling of the microphysics of galactic interstellar medium and star formation processes with the larger-scale galactic environment. We start with idealized global galaxy disk simulations (e.g., Tasker & Tan 2009; Li, Tan et al. 2017) to follow ISM structure, including GMC dynamics and evolution. We extract kiloparsec regions for further refinement, down to 0.1 pc scales, and for more detailed modeling of physical processes, such as the atomic to molecular transition (Van Loo et al. 2013), magnetic fields (Van Loo et al. 2015), filament formation and dynamics (Butler et al. 2015) and star formation feedback (Butler et al. 2017).
    Giant Molecular Clouds as Triggers of Star Formation
    Collisions between giant molecular clouds (GMCs) are an attractive mechanism for driving turbulence in molecular clouds and triggering star and star cluster formation. This research project is focused around the development of theoretical models and simulations of the GMC collision process (Wu et al. 2015, 2017a,b; Christie et al. 2017; Bisbas et al. 2017). Observational studies of potential examples of cloud collisions are also being carried out.
  4. PROMISE-Filaments
    Physics of filamentary molecular clouds
    Observational classification of the internal structure and dynamics of filamentary molecular clouds. Aims at constraining models for the formation, early evolution, and fragmentation of filaments (e.g., Kainulainen et al. 2017 , 2016; Hacar et al. 2016; Abreu-Vicente et (2016). The project is part of the ERC-funded PROMISE program.
    Galaxy-scale dust extinction mapping of molecular clouds
    A Galactic plane mapping project aiming at producing high-fidelity, dust extinction based column density data for thousands of molecular clouds in the Galactic plane (e.g., Kainulainen & Tan 2013, Kainulainen et al. 2013). The data will be used for statistical studies of molecular cloud properties in the Galaxy. The project is part of the ERC-funded PROMISE program.
  6. PROMISE-SFlaws
    Constraints for analytic star formation laws
    Links together observational constraints derived for molecular cloud structure, analytic theories of cloud structure, and numerical MHD simulations, with the aim of developing improved, global star formation laws. First efforts to do this in the Solar neighbourhood molecular clouds were published in Science (Kainulainen et al. 2014; see also Kainulainen et al. 2013). The project is part of the ERC-funded PROMISE program.