Binary stars and higher-order multiple systems are an ubiquitous outcome of star formation, especially as the system mass increases. The companion mass-ratio distribution is a unique probe into the conditions of the collapsing cloud core and circumstellar disk(s) of the binary fragments. Inside $a \sim 1000$ AU the disks from the two forming stars can interact, and additionally companions can form directly through disk fragmentation. We should therefore expect the mass-ratio distribution of close companions ($a \lesssim 100$ AU) to differ from that of wide companions. This prediction is difficult to test using traditional methods, especially with intermediate-mass primary stars, for a variety of observational reasons. We present the results of a survey searching for companions to A- and B-type stars using the direct spectral detection method, which is sensitive to late-type companions within $\sim 1″$ of the primary and which has no inner working angle. We estimate the temperatures and surface gravity of most of the 341 sample stars, and derive their masses and ages. We additionally estimate the temperatures and masses of the 64 companions we find, 23 of which are new detections. We find that the mass-ratio distribution for our sample has a maximum near $q \sim 0.3$. Our mass-ratio distribution has a very different form than in previous work, where it is usually well-described by a power law, and indicates that close companions to intermediate-mass stars experience significantly different accretion histories or formation mechanisms than wide companions.
K. Gullikson, A. Kraus and S. Dodson-Robinson
Mon, 25 Apr 16
Comments: Accepted to the Astronomical Journal. 26 pages, 7 figures, 5 tables. The code to replicate the analysis is available at this https URL All of the spectra used in this work, as well as a significant portion of the intermediate data products and MCMC samples are available at: this https URL and this https URL