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Astron. Astrophys. 330, 990-998 (1998)

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5. Conclusion

We have obtained sensitive optical and NIR imaging observations of the central part of the Serpens cloud core. A total of 165 sources was detected in the 19 arcmin2 surveyed area. We obtained new photometric data for 90 sources, among which 73 are new detections. We developed models to describe the evolution of the infrared luminosity functions of young embedded clusters of pre-main sequence stars for comparison with observations. The results of our study can be summarized as follows.

There is evidence for a turnover in the KLF of the identified Serpens sources above 14 mag, well below our 3 [FORMULA] completeness limit. The form of the observed KLF appears consistent with the half-gaussian form of the Miller & Scalo (1979) IMF. In regions where the extinction from the molecular cloud is less than [FORMULA], our survey is sensitive enough to allow the detection of objects with masses less than the 0.08 [FORMULA] mass limit. We estimated a SFE in the range 1-3 [FORMULA], which is comparable to the values obtained towards other dark cloud complexes forming intermediate- to low-mass stars. We have investigated various forms of IMF and the best fit to the data is reached with two bursts of star formation of different ages. One is [FORMULA] years old, the other is around [FORMULA] years old. This result confirms the one obtained by Casali et al. (1993), who made millimeter and submillimeter continuum observations of the Serpens cloud core that revealed a significant dispersion in the source ages.

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© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1998

Online publication: January 27, 1998