Tracing the evolutionary connection between the Milky Way Galaxy's stellar populations using fluorine

How did our Milky Way Galaxy form? The chemical compositions of low-mass stars hold the answer to this fundamental question. 

Fluorine is a chemical element whose nucleosynthetic origin remains poorly understood. The limited available measurements reveal that stars in clusters have 10 times less fluorine than field halo stars (i.e., stars not in clusters). This is an intriguing result not found for the majority of other chemical elements, and the reason for this difference remains unknown. 

The goal of this project is to measure the relative abundance of fluorine in stars belonging to all Galactic populations using data already obtained with the 8m Gemini and VLT telescopes. Those measurements will then be compared against predictions from state-of-the-art Galactic chemical evolution models. 

This study will reveal new details of the chemical enrichment history and evolutionary connection between all Galactic populations as well as new insights into the origin of fluorine.