University of Cambridge > > DAMTP Astrophysics Seminars > The Impact of the Inner Dead Zone Interface on Numerical Simulations of Protoplanetary Disks

The Impact of the Inner Dead Zone Interface on Numerical Simulations of Protoplanetary Disks

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Callum William Fairbairn.

First year report seminar

The turbulent flows within protoplanetary disks (PPDs) regulate accretion on to the central object and the assembly of solids and gas into planets. Hence, they are central to any study of our origins and of the possibility of life outside the Solar System.

This talk will focus on two key numerical simulations (one under the cylindrical approximation and one fully global) that explore key features which are present in the inner regions of PPDs (roughly 0.03-5 au from the central star). This region encompasses the supposed habitable zone and research in this area is accelerating at a rapid pace due to spectacular data in the (sub)-mm (e.g., ALMA , SPHERE, GRAVITY ). Later this decade, SKA will explore these inner regions in even finer resolution.

One key feature of all models of the inner regions of PPDs, is that beyond a certain critical radius (~1 au), magnetohydrodynamic turbulence dies out on account of the sudden drop-off in thermal ionisation. The magnetorotational instability is swamped by the abrupt rise in non-ideal effects and the gas beyond this critical radius is deemed ‘dead’. The mismatch of accretion across the transition (dead zone interface) has several consequences for planet formation. First, a pressure bump develops that can trap and concentrate in-falling solid material or inwardly migrating planets. Second, the pressure bump is also subject to a Rossby wave instability that spawns vortices, which in turn concentrates solid material further.

This talk is part of the DAMTP Astrophysics Seminars series.

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