The chemical evolution of self-gravitating primordial disks

Dominik R.G. Schleicher, Stefano Bovino, Muhammad A. Latif, Andrea Ferrara, Tommaso Grassi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Numerical simulations show the formation of self-gravitating primordial disks during the assembly of the first structures in the Universe, in particular, during the formation of Population III and supermassive stars. Their subsequent evolution is expected to be crucial in determining the mass scale of the first cosmological objects, which depends on the temperature of the gas and dominant cooling mechanism. Here, we derive a one-zone framework to explore the chemical evolution of these disks and show that viscous heating leads to the collisional dissociation of an initially molecular gas. The effect is relevant on scales of 10 AU (1000 AU) for a central mass of 10 M(104 M) at an accretion rate of 10-1 M yr-1, and provides a substantial heat input to stabilize the disk. If the gas is initially atomic, it remains atomic during the further evolution and the effect of viscous heating is less significant. The additional thermal support is particularly relevant for the formation of very massive objects, such as the progenitors of the first supermassive black holes. The stabilizing impact of viscous heating thus alleviates the need for strong radiation background as a means of keeping the gas atomic.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA11
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Accretion
  • accretion disks
  • Astrochemistry
  • Cosmology: theory
  • Dark ages
  • first stars
  • reionization
  • Stars: formation
  • Stars: Population III

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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