Nucleosynthesis in stars and the chemical enrichment of galaxies

Ken'Ichi Nomoto, Chiaki Kobayashi, Nozomu Tominaga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

450 Citations (Scopus)


After the Big Bang, production of heavy elements in the early Universe takes place starting from the formation of the first stars, their evolution, and explosion. The first supernova explosions have strong dynamical, thermal, and chemical feedback on the formation of subsequent stars and evolution of galaxies. However, the nature of the Universe's first stars and supernova explosions has not been well clarified. The signature of the nucleosynthesis yields of the first stars can be seen in the elemental abundance patterns observed in extremely metal-poor stars. Interestingly, those patterns show some peculiarities relative to the solar abundance pattern, which should provide important clues to understanding the nature of early generations of stars. We thus review the recent results of the nucleosynthesis yields of mainly massive stars for a wide range of stellar masses, metallicities, and explosion energies. We also provide yields tables and examine how those yields are affected by some hydrodynamical effects during supernova explosions, namely, explosion energies from those of hypernovae to faint supernovae, mixing and fallback of processed materials, asphericity, etc. Those parameters in the supernova nucleosynthesis models are constrained from observational data of supernovae and metal-poor stars. Nucleosynthesis yields are then applied to the chemical evolution model of our Galaxy and other types of galaxies to discuss how the chemical enrichment process occurred during evolution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)457-509
Number of pages53
JournalAnnual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2013


  • First star
  • Galactic archaeology
  • Gamma-ray burst
  • Hypernova
  • Metal-poor star
  • Supernova


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