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Not so smooth after all: resolving dust and gas structures in protoplanetary disks

A large diversity of exoplanetary systems has been found, but it is still unclear what drives this diversity.

Auteur
Cazzoletti, P.
Datum
12 december 2019
Links
Thesis in Leiden Repository

A large diversity of exoplanetary systems has been found, but it is still unclear what drives this diversity. Planets are formed in disks around young stars, but the sensitivity and resolution of pre-ALMA data have allowed only a handful of disks to be characterized. ALMA has opened up the possibility to survey hundreds of disks in both the gas and dust, and to also spatially resolve them. The most recent observations of protoplanetary disks in the (sub-)mm emission and in optical/near-infrared scattered light have revealed complex structures such as spirals, rings, gaps and vortices. Planets are often invoked as an explanation, but their number and location are degenerate, and the same system can be often explained by more than one scenario. In this thesis, the origin of these gas and dust structures both through dust observations and through chemical modelling of the gas emission is studied, and the link between the structures observed in the different tracers is investigated.These studies are critical to understand if substructures in disks are the signpost of ongoing planet formation and will ultimately also tell whether and how the variety of structures observed is linked to the diversity in the exoplanetary systems’ properties.

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