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Paper: The Galaxy-wide IMF - from Star Clusters to Galaxies
Volume: 440, UP2010: Have Observations Revealed a Variable Upper End of the Initial Mass Function?
Page: 19
Authors: Weidner, C.; Pflamm-Altenburg, J.; Kroupa, P.
Abstract: Over the past years observations of young and populous star clusters have shown that the stellar initial mass function (IMF) can be conveniently described by a two-part power-law with an exponent α2 = 2.3 for stars more massive than about 0.5 M and an exponent of α1 = 1.3 for less massive stars. A consensus has also emerged that most, if not all, stars form in stellar groups and star clusters, and that the mass function of these can be described as a power-law (the embedded cluster mass function, ECMF) with an exponent β ≈ 2. These two results imply that the integrated galactic IMF (IGIMF) for early-type stars cannot be a Salpeter power-law, but that they must have a steeper exponent. An application to star-burst galaxies shows that the IGIMF can become top-heavy. This has important consequences for the distribution of stellar remnants and for the chemo-dynamical and photometric evolution of galaxies. In this contribution the IGIMF theory is described, and the accompanying contribution by Pflamm-Altenburg, Weidner & Kroupa (this volume) documents the applications of the IGIMF theory to galactic astrophysics.
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