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Title: On the outer edges of protoplanetary dust disks

The expectation that aerodynamic drag will force the solids in a gas-rich protoplanetary disk to spiral in toward the host star on short timescales is one of the fundamental problems in planet formation theory. The nominal efficiency of this radial drift process is in conflict with observations, suggesting that an empirical calibration of solid transport mechanisms in a disk is highly desirable. However, the fact that both radial drift and grain growth produce a similar particle size segregation in a disk (such that larger particles are preferentially concentrated closer to the star) makes it difficult to disentangle a clear signature of drift alone. We highlight a new approach, by showing that radial drift leaves a distinctive 'fingerprint' in the dust surface density profile that is directly accessible to current observational facilities. Using an analytical framework for dust evolution, we demonstrate that the combined effects of drift and (viscous) gas drag naturally produce a sharp outer edge in the dust distribution (or, equivalently, a sharp decrease in the dust-to-gas mass ratio). This edge feature forms during the earliest phase in the evolution of disk solids, before grain growth in the outer disk has made much progress, and is preserved over longermore » timescales when both growth and transport effects are more substantial. The key features of these analytical models are reproduced in detailed numerical simulations, and are qualitatively consistent with recent millimeter-wave observations that find gas/dust size discrepancies and steep declines in dust continuum emission in the outer regions of protoplanetary disks.« less
Authors:
;  [1]
  1. Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22348221
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 780; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; ACCRETION DISKS; COMPUTERIZED SIMULATION; DENSITY; DISTRIBUTION; DUSTS; EFFICIENCY; EMISSION; EVOLUTION; GRAIN GROWTH; GROWTH; MASS; PARTICLE SIZE; PLANETS; PROTOPLANETS; SATELLITES; SEGREGATION; STARS; SURFACES