Independent Research Group Leader
Max-Planck-Institute for Astronomy, Heidelberg
My research interests are star formation in the interstellar medium (ISM), Galactic-scale star formation, global star formation laws, and astrophysical turbulence.
More specifically, my recent works target the density structure of the dense ISM, filamentary molecular clouds, and observational constraints for turbulence-regulated star formation models.
I have worked on these topics at MPIA Heidelberg since 2009. Since 2016, I am an independent research group leader funded by the ERC Starting Grant scheme (the PROMISE group).
Filamentary structures are everywhere in the interstellar medium, but we do not know how they fragment and form stars. Using the ALMA interferometer, we have performed the most sensitive study of a star-forming, high line-mass filament to date. We showed that the filament fragments quasi-periodically into groups of cores; such hierarchy is not predicted by any current filament evolution models. This points out a fundamental shortcoming in our theoretical understanding of how filaments evolve and fragment (read more in Kainulainen et al. A&A, submitted, arXiv:1603.05688).
A column density map of a 1.5 pc section of the integral-shaped filament, constructed from ALMA and Herschel observations. Dense cores appear as small dense (yellow) dots in the data.
A two-point correlation function of the dense core separations in the filament. The function shows strong grouping of sources below ~20 kAU and periodicity at longer size-scales.
Recent Science: How filamentary clouds fragment?