We have carried out a study of the early-type stars in nearby OB associations spanning an age range of similar to3-16 Myr, with the aim of determining the fraction of stars that belong to the Herbig Ae/Be class. We studied the B, A, and F stars in the nearby (less than or equal to500 pc) OB associations Upper Scorpius, Perseus OB2, Lacerta OB1, and Orion OB1, with membership determined from Hipparcos data. We also included in our study the early-type stars in the Trumpler 37 cluster, part of the Cep OB2 association. We obtained spectra for 440 Hipparcos stars in these associations, from which we determined accurate spectral types, visual extinctions, effective temperatures, luminosities and masses, using Hipparcos photometry. Using colors corrected for reddening, we find that the Herbig Ae/Be stars and the classical Be (CBe) stars occupy clearly different regions in the JHK diagram. Thus, we use the location on the JHK diagram, as well as the presence of emission lines and of strong 12 pm flux relative to the visual, to identify the Herbig Ae/Be stars in the associations. We find that the Herbig Ae/Be stars constitute a small fraction of the early-type stellar population even in the younger associations. Comparing the data from associations with different ages and assuming that the near-infrared excess in the Herbig Ae/Be stars arises from optically thick dusty inner disks, we determined the evolution of the inner disk frequency with age. We find that the inner disk frequency in the age range 3-10 Myr in intermediate-mass stars is lower than that in the low-mass stars (AU - Hernandez, J.
- Hertzsprung-Russell diagram open clusters and associations : general stars : emission-line, Be stars : pre-main-sequence INTERMEDIATE-MASS STARS T-TAURI STARS MAIN-SEQUENCE EVOLUTION ORION MOLECULAR CLOUD CIRCUMSTELLAR DISKS HIGH-RESOLUTION STELLAR POPULATION HIPPARCOS CATALOG INTERNAL MOTIONS INTRINSIC COLORS