Sunday, August 27, 2017

Using Ice and Dust Lines to Constrain the Surface Densities of Protoplanetary Disks

Using Ice and Dust Lines to Constrain the Surface Densities of Protoplanetary Disks


Powell et al


We present a novel method for determining the surface density of protoplanetary disks through consideration of disk "dust lines," which indicate the observed disk radial scale at different observational wavelengths. This method relies on the assumption that the processes of particle growth and drift control the radial scale of the disk at late stages of disk evolution such that the lifetime of the disk is equal to both the drift timescale and growth timescale of the maximum particle size at a given dust line. We provide an initial proof of concept of our model through an application to the disk TW Hya and are able to estimate the disk dust-to-gas ratio, CO abundance, and accretion rate in addition to the total disk surface density. We find that our derived surface density profile and dust-to-gas ratio are consistent with the lower limits found through measurements of HD gas. The CO ice line also depends on surface density through grain adsorption rates and drift and we find that our theoretical CO ice line estimates have clear observational analogues. We further apply our model to a large parameter space of theoretical disks and find three observational diagnostics that may be used to test its validity. First, we predict that the dust lines of disks other than TW Hya will be consistent with the normalized CO surface density profile shape for those disks. Second, surface density profiles that we derive from disk ice lines should match those derived from disk dust lines. Finally, we predict that disk dust and ice lines will scale oppositely, as a function of surface density, across a large sample of disks.

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