• stars: formation;
  • stars: Population III;
  • stars: pre-main-sequence;
  • early Universe


We combine the output of hydrodynamical simulations of Population III star cluster formation with stellar evolution models, and calculate the evolution of protostars experiencing variable mass accretion rates due to interactions within a massive disc. We find that the primordial protostars are extended ‘fluffy’ objects for the bulk of their pre-main-sequence lifetimes. Accretion luminosity feedback from such objects is high, but, as shown in previous work, it has a minimal effect on the star cluster. The extended radii of the protostars, combined with the observation of close encounters in the simulations, suggest that mergers will occur in such systems. Furthermore, mass transfer between close protostellar binaries with extended radii could lead to massive tight binaries, which are a possible progenitor of gamma-ray bursts.