Sizing up protoplanetary disks
This thesis focuses on protoplanetary disks: flattened structures of gas and dust around young stars in which planets are expected to form and grow.
- Trapman, L.
- 05 November 2020
- Thesis in Leiden Repository
This thesis focuses on protoplanetary disks: flattened structures of gas and dust around young stars in which planets are expected to form and grow. Physical-chemical models that compute the thermal structure and chemical composition of protoplanetary disks are compared to observations to increase our understanding of the processes that shape these disks.Chapters two and three investigate the sizes of protoplanetary disks in the context of evolution of the dust. A gas disk that is observed to be four times more extended than the dust disk is found to be a clear indication that the dust has drifted inward. Detailed modeling reveals that five out of a sample of 10 disks in the Lupus star-forming region show evidence for dust evolution. Chapter four shows that observed gas outer radii are consistent with disks evolving viscously, assuming disks start out small and evolve slowly. Chapter five reveals that the chemical conversion of CO into more complex species cannot by itself explain the low observed CO isotopolog line fluxes. Finally, Chapter six uses non-detections of the HD emission line to put an upper limit on the total mass of disks and rules out that they are currently gravitationally unstable.