Posts Tagged dust grains

Recent Postings from dust grains

Will New Horizons see dust clumps in the Edgeworth-Kuiper belt?

Debris disks are thought to be sculptured by neighboring planets. The same is true for the Edgeworth-Kuiper debris disk, yet no direct observational evidence for signatures of giant planets in the Kuiper belt dust distribution has been found so far. Here we model the dust distribution in the outer solar system to reproduce the dust impact rates onto the dust detector onboard the New Horizons spacecraft measured so far and to predict the rates during the Neptune orbit traverse. To this end, we take a realistic distribution of transneptunian objects to launch a sufficient number of dust grains of different sizes and follow their orbits by including radiation pressure, Poynting-Robertson and stellar wind drag, as well as the perturbations of four giant planets. In a subsequent statistical analysis, we calculate number densities and lifetimes of the dust grains in order to simulate a collisional cascade. In contrast to the previous work, our model not only considers collisional elimination of particles, but also includes production of finer debris. We find that particles captured in the 3:2 resonance with Neptune build clumps that are not removed by collisions, because the depleting effect of collisions is counteracted by production of smaller fragments. Our model successfully reproduces the dust impact rates measured by New Horizons out to ~23AU and predicts an increase of the impact rate of about a factor of two or three around the Neptune orbit crossing. This result is robust with respect to the variation of the vaguely known number of dust-producing scattered disk objects, collisional outcomes, and the dust properties.

Protoplanetary dust porosity and FU Orionis Outbursts: Solving the mystery of Earth's missing volatiles

The Earth is known to be depleted in volatile lithophile elements in a fashion that defies easy explanation. We resolve this anomaly with a model that combines the porosity of collisionally grown dust grains in protoplanetary disks with heating from FU Orionis events that dramatically raise protoplanetary disk temperatures. The heating from an FU Orionis event alters the aerodynamical properties of the dust while evaporating the volatiles. This causes the dust to settle, abandoning those volatiles. The success of this model in explaining the elemental composition of the Earth is a strong argument in favor of highly porous collisionally grown dust grains in protoplanetary disks outside our Solar System. Further, it demonstrates how thermal (or condensation based) alterations of dust porosity, and hence aerodynamics, can be a strong factor in planet formation, leading to the onset of rapid gravitational instabilities in the dust disk and the subsequent collapse that forms planetesimals.

On the interplay between star formation and feedback in galaxy formation simulations

Using high resolution cosmological zoom-in simulations of galaxy formation, we investigate the star formation-feedback cycle at high redshifts ($z>1$), focusing on progenitors of Milky Way-sized galaxies. Our star formation model is based on the local density of molecular hydrogen (H$_2$) forming on dust grains, as this may be an important ingredient for regulating star formation in the high redshift, metal-poor regime of galaxy formation. Our stellar feedback model accounts for energy and momentum from supernovae, stellar winds and radiation pressure. We use a suite of simulations with different parameters and assumptions about star formation and prescription recipes. We find that in order to reproduce global properties of the Milky Way progenitors, such as star formation history and stellar mass-halo mass relation, simulations should include 1) a combination of local early ($t\lesssim 4$ Myr) momentum feedback via radiation pressure and stellar winds and subsequent efficient supernovae feedback, and 2) the global star formation efficiency on kiloparsec scales should be feedback regulated. In particular, we find that in models with efficient feedback, the local efficiency of star formation per free fall time can be substantially larger than the global star formation efficiency inferred from the Kennicutt-Schmidt relation. We find that simulations that adopt inefficient star formation inferred from such relation fail to produce vigorous outflows and eject sufficient amounts of enriched gas in order to regulate the galactic baryon content. This illustrates the importance of understanding the complex interplay between star formation and feedback and the detailed processes that contribute to the feedback-regulated formation of galaxies. (Abridged for arXiv)

Planetesimal driven migration as an explanation for observations of high levels of warm, exozodiacal dust

High levels of exozodiacal dust have been observed in the inner regions of a large fraction of main sequence stars. Given the short lifetime of the observed small dust grains, these ‘exozodis’ are difficult to explain, especially for old (>100 Myr) stars. The exozodiacal dust may be observed as excess emission in the mid-infrared, or using interferometry. We hypothesise that exozodi are sustained by planetesimals scattered by planets inwards from an outer planetesimal belt, where collision timescales are long. In this work, we use N-body simulations to show that the outwards migration of a planet into a belt, driven by the scattering of planetesimals, can increase, or sustain, the rate at which planetesimals are scattered from the outer belt to the exozodi region. We hypothesise that this increase is sufficient to sustain the observed exozodi on Gyr timescales. No correlation between observations of an outer belt and an exozodi is required for this scenario to work, as the outer belt may be too faint to detect. If planetesimal driven migration does explain the observed exozodi, this work suggests that the presence of an exozodi indicates the presence of outer planets and a planetesimal belt.

The importance of monopole antennas for dust observations: why Wind/WAVES does not detect nanodust

The charge released by impact ionization of fast dust grains impinging on spacecraft is at the basis of a well-known technique for dust detection by wave instruments. Since most of the impact charges are recollected by the spacecraft, monopole antennas generally detect a much greater signal than dipoles. This is illustrated by comparing dust signals in monopole and dipole mode on different spacecraft and environments. It explains the weak sensitivity of Wind/WAVES dipole antennas for dust detection, so that it is not surprising that this instrument did not detect the interplanetary nanodust discovered by STEREO/WAVES. We propose an interpretation of the Wind dust data, elsewhere discussed by Malaspina et al. (2014), which explains the observed pulse amplitude and polarity for interstellar dust impacts, as well as the non-detection of nanodust. This proposed mechanism might be the dominant dust detection mechanism by some wave instruments using dipole antennas.

Fingerprints of Galactic Loop I on the Cosmic Microwave Background

We investigate possible imprints of galactic foreground structures such as the `radio loops’ in the derived maps of the cosmic microwave background. Surprisingly there is evidence for these not only at radio frequencies through their synchrotron radiation, but also at microwave frequencies where emission by dust dominates. This suggests the mechanism is magnetic dipole radiation from dust grains enriched by metallic iron, or ferrimagnetic molecules. This new foreground we have identified is present at high galactic latitudes, and potentially dominates over the expected B-mode polarisation signal due to primordial gravitational waves from inflation.

Transport of charged dust grains into the galactic halo

We develop a 3D dynamical model of dust outflows from galactic discs. The outflows are initiated by multiple SN explosions in a magnetized interstellar medium (ISM) with a gravitationally stratified density distribution. Dust grains are treated as particles in cells interacting collisionally with gas, and forced by stellar radiation of the disc and Lorenz force. We show that magnetic field plays a crucial role in accelerating the charged dust grains and expelling them out of the disc: in 10–20~Myr they can be elevated at distances up to 10~kpc above the galactic plane. The dust-to-gas ratio in the outflowing medium varies in the range $5 \cdot 10^{-4} – 5 \cdot 10^{-2}$ along the vertical stream. Overall the dust mass loss rate depends on the parameters of ISM and may reach up to $3\times 10^{-2}$~\Msun~yr$^{-1}$

Dust formation in macronovae

We examine dust formation in macronovae (as known as kilonovae), which are the bright ejecta of neutron star binary mergers and one of the leading sites of r-process nucleosynthesis. We find that dust grains of r-process elements are difficult to form because of the low number density of the r-process atoms even with their high abundances, while carbon or elements lighter than irons can condense into dust if they are abundant. Dust grains absorb emission from ejecta with opacity even greater than that of the r-process elements, and re-emit photons in infrared bands. Such dust emission can potentially account for the first macronova candidate associated with GRB 130603B, and pose an alternative model without r-process nucleosynthesis in macronovae. This dust scenario predicts a more featureless spectrum than the r-process model and day-scale optical-to-ultraviolet emission.

Fossil magnetic field of accretion disks of young stars

We elaborate the model of accretion disks of young stars with the fossil large-scale magnetic field in the frame of Shakura and Sunyaev approximation. Equations of the MHD model include Shakura and Sunyaev equations, induction equation and equations of ionization balance. Magnetic field is determined taking into account ohmic diffusion, magnetic ambipolar diffusion and buoyancy. Ionization fraction is calculated considering ionization by cosmic rays and X-rays, thermal ionization, radiative recombinations and recombinations on the dust grains. Analytical solution and numerical investigations show that the magnetic field is coupled to the gas in the case of radiative recombinations. Magnetic field is quasi-azimuthal close to accretion disk inner boundary and quasi-radial in the outer regions. Magnetic field is quasi-poloidal in the dusty "dead" zones with low ionization degree, where ohmic diffusion is efficient. Magnetic ambipolar diffusion reduces vertical magnetic field in 10 times comparing to the frozen-in field in this region. Magnetic field is quasi-azimuthal close to the outer boundary of accretion disks for standard ionization rates and dust grain size a_d=0.1 micrometers. In the case of large dust grains (a_d > 0.1 micrometers) or enhanced ionization rates, the magnetic field is quasi-radial in the outer regions. It is shown that the inner boundary of dusty "dead" zone is placed at r=(0.1-0.6) AU for accretion disks of stars with M=(0.5-2) M_{\odot}. Outer boundary of "dead" zone is placed at r=(3-21) AU and it is determined by magnetic ambipolar diffusion. Mass of solid material in the "dead" zone is more than 3 M_{\oplus} for stars with M \geq 1 M_{\odot}.

Fossil magnetic field of accretion disks of young stars [Replacement]

We elaborate the model of accretion disks of young stars with the fossil large-scale magnetic field in the frame of Shakura and Sunyaev approximation. Equations of the MHD model include Shakura and Sunyaev equations, induction equation and equations of ionization balance. Magnetic field is determined taking into account ohmic diffusion, magnetic ambipolar diffusion and buoyancy. Ionization fraction is calculated considering ionization by cosmic rays and X-rays, thermal ionization, radiative recombinations and recombinations on the dust grains. Analytical solution and numerical investigations show that the magnetic field is coupled to the gas in the case of radiative recombinations. Magnetic field is quasi-azimuthal close to accretion disk inner boundary and quasi-radial in the outer regions. Magnetic field is quasi-poloidal in the dusty "dead" zones with low ionization degree, where ohmic diffusion is efficient. Magnetic ambipolar diffusion reduces vertical magnetic field in 10 times comparing to the frozen-in field in this region. Magnetic field is quasi-azimuthal close to the outer boundary of accretion disks for standard ionization rates and dust grain size a_d=0.1 micrometers. In the case of large dust grains (a_d > 0.1 micrometers) or enhanced ionization rates, the magnetic field is quasi-radial in the outer regions. It is shown that the inner boundary of dusty "dead" zone is placed at r=(0.1-0.6) AU for accretion disks of stars with M=(0.5-2) M_{\odot}. Outer boundary of "dead" zone is placed at r=(3-21) AU and it is determined by magnetic ambipolar diffusion. Mass of solid material in the "dead" zone is more than 3 M_{\oplus} for stars with M \geq 1 M_{\odot}.

Spectral Softening in X-ray Afterglow of GRB 130925A as Predicted by Dust Scattering Model

Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) usually occurs in a dense star-forming region with massive circum-burst medium. The small-angle scattering of intense prompt X-ray emission off the surrounding dust grains will have observable consequences, and sometimes can dominate the X-ray afterglow. In most of the previous studies, only Rayleigh-Gans (RG) approximation is employed for describing the scattering process, which works accurately for the typical size of grains (with radius $a\leq 0.1\,{\rm \mu m}$) in the diffuse interstellar medium. When the size of the grains may significantly increase as in a more dense region where GRBs would occur, the RG approximation may not be valid enough for modeling detailed observational data. In order to study the temporal and spectral properties of the scattered X-ray emission more accurately with potentially larger dust grains, we provide a practical approach using the series expansions of anomalous diffraction (AD) approximation based on the complicated Mie theory. We apply our calculations to understanding the puzzling X-ray afterglow of recently observed GRB 130925A which showed a significant spectral softening. We find that the X-ray scattering scenarios with either AD or RG approximation adopted could both well reproduce the temporal and spectral profile simultaneously. Given the plateau present in early X-ray light curve, a typical distribution of smaller grains as in the interstellar medium would be suggested for GRB 130925A.

Diversity in the outcome of dust radial drift in protoplanetary discs [Replacement]

The growth of dust particles into planet embryos needs to circumvent the radial-drift barrier, i.e. the accretion of dust particles onto the central star by radial migration. The outcome of the dust radial migration is governed by simple criteria between the dust-to-gas ratio and the exponents p and q of the surface density and temperature power laws. The transfer of radiation provides an additional constraint between these quantities because the disc thermal structure is fixed by the dust spatial distribution. To assess which discs are primarily affected by the radial-drift barrier, we used the radiative transfer code MCFOST to compute the temperature structure of a wide range of disc models, stressing the particular effects of grain size distributions and vertical settling. We find that the outcome of the dust migration process is very sensitive to the physical conditions within the disc. For high dust-to-gas ratios (> 0.01) or flattened disc structures (H/R < 0.05), growing dust grains can efficiently decouple from the gas, leading to a high concentration of grains at a critical radius of a few AU. Decoupling of grains can occur at a large fraction (> 0.1) of the initial radius, for a dust-to-gas ratio greater than ~ 0.05. The exact value of the required dust-to-gas ratio for dust to stop its migration is strongly dependent on the disc temperature structure. Non growing dust grains are accreted for discs with flat surface density profiles (p<0.7) while they always remain in the disc if the surface density is steep enough (p>1.2). Both the presence of large grains and vertical settling tend to favour the accretion of non growing dust grains onto the central object, but it slows down the migration of growing dust grains. All the disc configurations are found to have favourable temperature profiles over most of the disc to retain their planetesimals.

Diversity in the outcome of dust radial drift in protoplanetary discs

(Abridged) The growth of dust particles into planet embryos needs to circumvent the radial-drift barrier, i.e. the accretion of dust particles onto the central star by radial migration. The outcome of he dust radial migration is governed by simple criteria between the dust-to-gas ratio and the exponents p and q of the surface density and temperature power-laws. The transfer of radiation provides an additional constraint between these quantities as the disc thermal structure is fixed by the dust spatial distribution. In order to assess which discs are preferentially affected by the radial-drift barrier, we use the radiative transfer code MCFOST to compute the temperature structure of a large range of disc models, stressing the particular effects of grain size distributions and vertical settling. We find that the outcome of the dust migration process is very sensitive to the physical conditions within the disc. For high dust-to-gas ratios (> 0.01) or flattened disc structures (H/R < 0.05), growing dust grains can efficiently decouple from the gas, leading to a high concentration of grains at a critical radius of a few AU. Decoupling of grains can occur at a large fraction (> 0.1) of the initial radius, for a dust-to-gas ratio larger than ~ 0.05. The exact value of the required dust-to-gas ratio for dust to stop its migration is strongly dependent on the disc temperature structure. Non growing dust grains are accreted for discs with flat surface density profiles (p<0.7) while they always remain in the disc if the surface density is steep enough (p>1.2). Both the presence of large grains and vertical settling tend to favour the accretion of non growing dust grains onto the central object, but it slows down the migration of growing dust grains. Importantly, all the disc configurations are found to have favourable temperature profiles over most of the disc to retain their planetesimals.

Efficient diffusive mechanisms of O atoms at very low temperatures on surfaces of astrophysical interest

At the low temperatures of interstellar dust grains, it is well established that surface chemistry proceeds via diffusive mechanisms of H atoms weakly bound (physisorbed) to the surface. Until recently, however, it was unknown whether atoms heavier than hydrogen could diffuse rapidly enough on interstellar grains to react with other accreted species. In addition, models still require simple reduction as well as oxidation reactions to occur on grains to explain the abundances of various molecules. In this paper we investigate O-atom diffusion and reactivity on a variety of astrophysically relevant surfaces (water ice of three different morphologies, silicate, and graphite) in the 6.5 – 25 K temperature range. Experimental values were used to derive a diffusion law that emphasizes that O atoms diffuse by quantum mechanical tunnelling at temperatures as low as 6.5 K. The rate of diffusion on each surface, based on modelling results, were calculated and an empirical law is given as a function of the surface temperature. Relative diffusion rates are k_H2Oice > k_sil > k_graph >> k_expected. The implications of an efficient O-atom diffusion over astrophysically relevant time-scales are discussed. Our findings show that O atoms can scan any available reaction partners (e.g., either another H atom, if available, or a surface radical like O or OH) at a faster rate than that of accretion. Also, as dense clouds mature H2 becomes far more abundant than H and the O/H ratio grows, the reactivity of O atoms on grains is such that O becomes one of the dominant reactive partners together with H.

Millimetre spectral indices of transition disks and their relation to the cavity radius [Replacement]

Transition disks are protoplanetary disks with inner depleted dust cavities and excellent candidates to investigate the dust evolution under the existence of a pressure bump. A pressure bump at the outer edge of the cavity allows dust grains from the outer regions to stop their rapid inward migration towards the star and efficiently grow to millimetre sizes. Dynamical interactions with planet(s) have been one of the most exciting theories to explain the clearing of the inner disk. We look for evidence of the presence of millimetre dust particles in transition disks by measuring their spectral index with new and available photometric data. We investigate the influence of the size of the dust depleted cavity on the disk integrated millimetre spectral index. We present the 3mm photometric observations carried out with PdBI of four transition disks: LkHa330, UXTauA, LRLL31, and LRLL67. We use available values of their fluxes at 345GHz to calculate their spectral index, as well as the spectral index for a sample of twenty transition disks. We compare the observations with two kind of models. In the first set of models, we consider coagulation and fragmentation of dust in a disk in which a cavity is formed by a massive planet located at different positions. The second set of models assumes disks with truncated inner parts at different radius and with power-law dust size distributions, where the maximum size of grains is calculated considering turbulence as the source of destructive collisions. We show that the integrated spectral index is higher for transition disks than for regular protoplanetary disks. For transition disks, the probability that the measured spectral index is positively correlated with the cavity radius is 95%. High angular resolution imaging of transition disks is needed to distinguish between the dust trapping scenario and the truncated disk case.

Millimetre spectral indices of transition disks and their relation with the cavity radius

Transition disks are protoplanetary disks with inner depleted dust cavities and excellent candidates to investigate the dust evolution under the existence of a pressure bump. A pressure bump at the outer edge of the cavity allows dust grains from the outer regions to stop their rapid inward migration towards the star and efficiently grow to millimetre sizes. Dynamical interactions with planet(s) have been one of the most exciting theories to explain the clearing of the inner disk. We look for evidence of the presence of millimetre dust particles in transition disks by measuring their spectral index with new and available photometric data. We investigate the influence of the size of the dust depleted cavity on the disk integrated millimetre spectral index. We present the 3mm photometric observations carried out with PdBI of four transition disks: LkHa330, UXTauA, LRLL31, and LRLL67. We use available values of their fluxes at 345GHz to calculate their spectral index, as well as the spectral index for a sample of twenty transition disks. We compare the observations with two kind of models. In the first set of models, we consider coagulation and fragmentation of dust in a disk in which a cavity is formed by a massive planet located at different positions. The second set of models assumes disks with truncated inner parts at different radius and with power-law dust size distributions, where the maximum size of grains is calculated considering turbulence as the source of destructive collisions. We show that the integrated spectral index is higher for transition disks than for regular protoplanetary disks. For transition disks, the probability that the measured spectral index is positively correlated with the cavity radius is 95%. High angular resolution imaging of transition disks is needed to distinguish between the dust trapping scenario and the truncated disk case.

Ionization Correction Factors for Planetary Nebulae: I- Using optical spectra

We compute a large grid of photoionization models that covers a wide range of physical parameters and is representative of most of the observed PNe. Using this grid, we derive new formulae for the ionization correction factors (ICFs) of He, O, N, Ne, S, Ar, Cl, and C. Analytical expressions to estimate the uncertainties arising from our ICFs are also provided. This should be useful since these uncertainties are usually not considered when estimating the error bars in element abundances. Our ICFs are valid over a variety of assumptions such as the input metallicities, the spectral energy distribution of the ionizing source, the gas distribution, or the presence of dust grains. Besides, the ICFs are adequate both for large aperture observations and for pencil-beam observations in the central zones of the nebulae. We test our ICFs on a large sample of observed PNe that extends as far as possible in ionization, central star temperature, and metallicity, by checking that the Ne/O, S/O, Ar/O, and Cl/O ratios show no trend with the degree of ionization. Our ICFs lead to significant differences in the derived abundance ratios as compared with previous determinations, especially for N/O, Ne/O, and Ar/O.

Physical and chemical structure of planet-forming disks probed by millimeter observations and modeling

Protoplanetary disks composed of dust and gas are ubiquitous around young stars and are commonly recognized as nurseries of planetary systems. Their lifetime, appearance, and structure are determined by an interplay between stellar radiation, gravity, thermal pressure, magnetic field, gas viscosity, turbulence, and rotation. Molecules and dust serve as major heating and cooling agents in disks. Dust grains dominate the disk opacities, reprocess most of the stellar radiation, and shield molecules from ionizing UV/X-ray photons. Disks also dynamically evolve by building up planetary systems which drastically change their gas and dust density structures. Over the past decade significant progress has been achieved in our understanding of disk chemical composition thanks to the upgrade or advent of new millimeter/Infrared facilities (SMA, PdBI, CARMA, Herschel, e-VLA, ALMA). Some major breakthroughs in our comprehension of the disk physics and chemistry have been done since PPV. This review will present and discuss the impact of such improvements on our understanding of the disk physical structure and chemical composition.

Spitzer Observations of Dust Emission from HII Regions in the Large Magellanic Cloud

Massive stars can alter physical conditions and properties of their ambient interstellar dust grains via radiative heating and shocks. The HII regions in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) offer ideal sites to study the stellar energy feedback effects on dust because stars can be resolved, and the galaxy’s nearly face-on orientation allows us to unambiguously associate HII regions with their ionizing massive stars. The Spitzer Space Telescope survey of the LMC provides multi-wavelength (3.6 to 160 $\mu$m) photometric data of all HII regions. To investigate the evolution of dust properties around massive stars, we have analyzed spatially-resolved IR dust emission from two classical HII regions and two simple superbubbles in the LMC. We produce photometric spectral energy distributions (SEDs) of numerous small subregions for each region based on its stellar distributions and nebular morphologies. We use DustEM dust emission model fits to characterize the dust properties. Color-color diagrams and model fits are compared with the radiation field (estimated from photometric and spectroscopic surveys). Strong radial variations of SEDs can be seen throughout the regions, reflecting the available radiative heating. Emission from very small grains drastically increases at locations where the radiation field is the highest, while polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) appear to be destroyed. PAH emission is the strongest in the presence of molecular clouds, provided that the radiation field is low.

Spitzer Observations of Dust Emission from HII Regions in the Large Magellanic Cloud [Replacement]

Massive stars can alter physical conditions and properties of their ambient interstellar dust grains via radiative heating and shocks. The HII regions in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) offer ideal sites to study the stellar energy feedback effects on dust because stars can be resolved, and the galaxy’s nearly face-on orientation allows us to unambiguously associate HII regions with their ionizing massive stars. The Spitzer Space Telescope survey of the LMC provides multi-wavelength (3.6 to 160 $\mu$m) photometric data of all HII regions. To investigate the evolution of dust properties around massive stars, we have analyzed spatially-resolved IR dust emission from two classical HII regions (N63 and N180) and two simple superbubbles (N70 and N144) in the LMC. We produce photometric spectral energy distributions (SEDs) of numerous small subregions for each region based on its stellar distributions and nebular morphologies. We use DustEM dust emission model fits to characterize the dust properties. Color-color diagrams and model fits are compared with the radiation field (estimated from photometric and spectroscopic surveys). Strong radial variations of SEDs can be seen throughout the regions, reflecting the available radiative heating. Emission from very small grains drastically increases at locations where the radiation field is the highest, while polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) appear to be destroyed. PAH emission is the strongest in the presence of molecular clouds, provided that the radiation field is low.

Dust Evolution in Protoplanetary Disks

(abridged) In the core accretion scenario for the formation of planetary rocky cores, the first step toward planet formation is the growth of dust grains into larger and larger aggregates and eventually planetesimals. Although dust grains are thought to grow from the submicron sizes typical of interstellar dust to micron size particles in the dense regions of molecular clouds and cores, the growth from micron size particles to pebbles and kilometre size bodies must occur in protoplanetary disks. This step in the formation of planetary systems is the last stage of solids evolution that can be observed directly in young extrasolar systems. In this chapter we review the constraints on the physics of grain-grain collisions as they have emerged from laboratory experiments and numerical computations. We then review the current theoretical understanding of the global processes governing the evolution of solids in protoplanetary disks, including dust settling, growth, and radial transport. The predicted observational signatures are summarized. We discuss recent developments in the study of grain growth in molecular cloud cores and in collapsing envelopes of protostars as these provide the initial conditions for the dust in disks. We discuss the observational evidence for the growth of grains in young disks from mm surveys, as well as the recent evidence of radial variations of the dust properties in disks. We include a brief discussion of the constraints on the small end of the grain size distribution and on dust settling as derived from optical and IR observations. The observations are discussed in the context of global dust evolution models, in particular we focus on the emerging evidence for a very efficient early growth of grains and the radial distribution of grain sizes in disks. We also highlight the limits of current models, including the need to slow the radial drift of grains.

Dust grain growth and the formation of the extremely primitive star SDSS J102915+172927

Dust grains in low-metallicity star-forming regions may be responsible for the formation of the first low-mass stars. The minimal conditions to activate dust-induced fragmentation require the gas to be pre-enriched above a critical dust-to-gas mass ratio Dcr=[2.6--6.3]x10^-9 with the spread reflecting the dependence on the grain properties. The recently discovered Galactic halo star SDSS J102915+172927 has a stellar mass of 0.8 Msun and a metallicity of Z=4.5×10^-5 Zsun and represents an optimal candidate for the dust-induced low-mass star formation. Indeed, for the two most plausible Population III supernova progenitors, with 20 Msun and 35 Msun, the critical dust-to-gas mass ratio can be overcome provided that at least 0.4 Msun of dust condenses in the ejecta, allowing for moderate destruction by the reverse shock. Here we show that even if dust formation in the first supernovae is less efficient or strong dust destruction does occur, grain growth during the collapse of the parent gas cloud is sufficiently rapid to activate dust cooling and likely fragmentation into low-mass and long-lived stars. Silicates and magnetite grains can experience significant grain growth in the density range 10^9 /cc < nH<10^12 /cc by accreting gas-phase species (SiO, SiO2, and Fe) until their gas-phase abundance drops to zero, reaching condensation efficiencies =1. The corresponding increase in the dust-to-gas mass ratio allows dust-induced cooling and fragmentation to be activated at 10^12 /cc < nH < 10^14 /cc, before the collapsing cloud becomes optically thick to continuum radiation. We show that for all the initial conditions that apply to the parent cloud of SDSS J102915+172927, dust-driven fragmentation is able to account for the formation of the star.

Formation History of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Galaxies

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are some of the major dust components in the interstellar medium (ISM). We present our evolution models for the abundance of PAHs in the ISM on a galaxy-evolution timescale. We consider shattering of carbonaceous dust grains in interstellar turbulence as the formation mechanism of PAHs while the PAH abundance can be reduced by coagulation onto dust grains, destruction by supernova shocks, and incorporation into stars. We implement these processes in a one-zone chemical evolution model to obtain the evolution of the PAH abundance in a galaxy. We find that PAH formation becomes accelerated above certain metallicity where shattering becomes efficient. For PAH destruction, while supernova shock is the primary mechanism in the metal-poor environment, coagulation is dominant in the metal-rich environment. We compare the evolution of the PAH abundances in our models with observed abundances in galaxies with a wide metallicity range. Our models reproduce both the paucity of PAH detection in low metallicity galaxies and the metallicity-dependence of the PAH abundance in high-metallicity galaxies. The strong metallicity dependence of PAH abundance appears as a result of the strong metallicity dependence of the dust mass increase by the accretion of metals onto dust grains, which are eventually shattered into PAHs. We conclude that the observational trend of the PAH abundance can be a natural consequence of shattering of carbonaceous grains being the source of PAHs. To establish our scenario of PAH formation, observational evidence of PAH formation by shattering would be crucial.

Jumping the Gap: The Formation Conditions and Mass Function of Pebble-Pile Planetesimals

In a turbulent proto-planetary disk, dust grains undergo large density fluctuations and under the right circumstances, these grain overdensities can overcome shear, turbulent, and gas pressure support to collapse under self-gravity (forming a ‘pebble pile’ planetesimal). Using insights from simulations and a new analytic model for the fluctuations, we calculate the rate-of-formation and mass function of self-gravitating, collapsing planetesimal-mass bodies formed by this mechanism. The statistics of this process depend sensitively on the size/stopping time of the largest grains, disk surface density, and turbulent Mach numbers. However, when it occurs, we predict that the resulting planetesimal mass function is broad and quasi-universal, with a slope dN/dM~1/M, spanning a size/mass range ~10-1e4 km (~1e-9-5.0 M_Earth). Collapse to planetesimal through super-Earth masses is possible. The key condition is that grain density fluctuations reach large amplitudes on large scales, where gravitational instability proceeds most easily (collapse of small grains is strongly suppressed by turbulent vorticity). We show this leads to a new criterion for ‘pebble-pile’ formation in terms of the dimensionless particle stopping time (tau_stop > f(Q,Z,alpha)). In a MMSN, this requires grains larger than a=(50,1,0.1)cm at r=(1,30,100)au. So at large radii, this can easily occur and seed core accretion. At small radii, it would depend on the existence of large boulders. However, because density fluctuations depend super-exponentially on tau_stop (inversely proportional to disk surface density), lower-density disks are more unstable! In fact, we predict that cm-sized grains at ~1au will form pebble piles in a disk with ~10% the MMSN density, so planet formation at ~au may generically occur late, as disks are evaporating.

Dust from AGBs: relevant factors and modelling uncertainties

The dust formation process in the winds of Asymptotic Giant Branch stars is discussed, based on full evolutionary models of stars with mass in the range $1$M$_{\odot} \leq$M$\leq 8$M$_{\odot}$, and metallicities $0.001 < Z <0.008$. Dust grains are assumed to form in an isotropically expanding wind, by growth of pre–existing seed nuclei. Convection, for what concerns the treatment of convective borders and the efficiency of the schematization adopted, turns out to be the physical ingredient used to calculate the evolutionary sequences with the highest impact on the results obtained. Low–mass stars with M$\leq 3$M$_{\odot}$ produce carbon type dust with also traces of silicon carbide. The mass of solid carbon formed, fairly independently of metallicity, ranges from a few $10^{-4}$M$_{\odot}$, for stars of initial mass $1-1.5$M$_{\odot}$, to $\sim 10^{-2}$M$_{\odot}$ for M$\sim 2-2.5$M$_{\odot}$; the size of dust particles is in the range $0.1 \mu$m$\leq a_C \leq 0.2\mu$m. On the contrary, the production of silicon carbide (SiC) depends on metallicity. For $10^{-3} \leq Z \leq 8\times 10^{-3}$ the size of SiC grains varies in the range $0.05 \mu {\rm m} < {\rm a_{SiC}} < 0.1 \mu$m, while the mass of SiC formed is $10^{-5}{\rm M}_{\odot} < {\rm M_{SiC}} < 10^{-3}{\rm M}_{\odot}$. Models of higher mass experience Hot Bottom Burning, which prevents the formation of carbon stars, and favours the formation of silicates and corundum. In this case the results scale with metallicity, owing to the larger silicon and aluminium contained in higher–Z models. At Z=$8\times 10^{-3}$ we find that the most massive stars produce dust masses $m_d \sim 0.01$M$_{\odot}$, whereas models of smaller mass produce a dust mass ten times smaller. The main component of dust are silicates, although corundum is also formed, in not negligible quantities ($\sim 10-20\%$).

Observations, Modeling and Theory of Debris Disks

Main sequence stars, like the Sun, are often found to be orbited by circumstellar material that can be categorized into two groups, planets and debris. The latter is made up of asteroids and comets, as well as the dust and gas derived from them, which makes debris disks observable in thermal emission or scattered light. These disks may persist over Gyrs through steady-state evolution and/or may also experience sporadic stirring and major collisional breakups, rendering them atypically bright for brief periods of time. Most interestingly, they provide direct evidence that the physical processes (whatever they may be) that act to build large oligarchs from micron-sized dust grains in protoplanetary disks have been successful in a given system, at least to the extent of building up a significant planetesimal population comparable to that seen in the Solar System’s asteroid and Kuiper belts. Such systems are prime candidates to host even larger planetary bodies as well. The recent growth in interest in debris disks has been driven by observational work that has provided statistics, resolved images, detection of gas in debris disks, and discoveries of new classes of objects. The interpretation of this vast and expanding dataset has necessitated significant advances in debris disk theory, notably in the physics of dust produced in collisional cascades and in the interaction of debris with planets. Application of this theory has led to the realization that such observations provide a powerful diagnostic that can be used not only to refine our understanding of debris disk physics, but also to challenge our understanding of how planetary systems form and evolve.

Observations, Modeling and Theory of Debris Disks [Replacement]

Main sequence stars, like the Sun, are often found to be orbited by circumstellar material that can be categorized into two groups, planets and debris. The latter is made up of asteroids and comets, as well as the dust and gas derived from them, which makes debris disks observable in thermal emission or scattered light. These disks may persist over Gyrs through steady-state evolution and/or may also experience sporadic stirring and major collisional breakups, rendering them atypically bright for brief periods of time. Most interestingly, they provide direct evidence that the physical processes (whatever they may be) that act to build large oligarchs from micron-sized dust grains in protoplanetary disks have been successful in a given system, at least to the extent of building up a significant planetesimal population comparable to that seen in the Solar System’s asteroid and Kuiper belts. Such systems are prime candidates to host even larger planetary bodies as well. The recent growth in interest in debris disks has been driven by observational work that has provided statistics, resolved images, detection of gas in debris disks, and discoveries of new classes of objects. The interpretation of this vast and expanding dataset has necessitated significant advances in debris disk theory, notably in the physics of dust produced in collisional cascades and in the interaction of debris with planets. Application of this theory has led to the realization that such observations provide a powerful diagnostic that can be used not only to refine our understanding of debris disk physics, but also to challenge our understanding of how planetary systems form and evolve.

Ring Structure Formation in Protoplanetary Disks due to the Two-Fluid Secular Gravitational Instability: An Indicator of Dust Concentration

The instability in protoplanetary disks due to gas-dust friction and self-gravity of gas and dust is investigated by linear analysis. For conditions typical of protoplanetaly disks, the instability grows, even in gravitationally stable disks, on a timescale of order $10^{4-5}$yr at a radius of order 100AU. If we ignore the dynamical feedback from dust grains in the gas equation of motion, the instability reduces to the so-called "secular gravitational instability", that was investigated previously as the instability of dust in a fixed background gas flow. In this work, we solve the equation of motion for both gas and dust consistently and find that long-wavelength perturbations are stable, in contrast to the secular gravitational instability in the simplified treatment. The instability is expected to form ring structures in protoplanetary disks. The width of the ring formed at a radius of 100 AU is a few tens of AU. Therefore, the instability is a candidate for the formation mechanism of observed ring-like structures in disks. Another aspect of the instability is the accumulation of dust grains, hence the instability may play an important role in the formation of planetesimals, rocky protoplanets, and cores of gas giants located at radii $\sim$100 AU. If these objects survive the dispersal of the gaseous component of the disk, they may be the origin of debris disks.

Formation of silicon oxide grains at low temperature

The formation of grains in the interstellar medium, i.e., at low temperature, has been proposed as a possibility to solve the lifetime problem of cosmic dust. This process lacks a firm experimental basis, which is the goal of this study. We have investigated the condensation of SiO molecules at low temperature using neon matrix and helium droplet isolation techniques. The energies of SiO polymerization reactions have been determined experimentally with a calorimetric method and theoretically with calculations based on the density functional theory. The combined experimental and theoretical values have revealed the formation of cyclic (SiO)$_k$ ($k$ = 2–3) clusters inside helium droplets at $T$ = 0.37 K. Therefore, the oligomerization of SiO molecules is found to be barrierless and is expected to be fast in the low-temperature environment of the interstellar medium on the surface of dust grains. The incorporation of numerous SiO molecules in helium droplets leads to the formation of nanoscale amorphous SiO grains. Similarly, the annealing and evaporation of SiO-doped Ne matrices lead to the formation of solid amorphous SiO on the substrate. The structure and composition of the grains were determined by infrared absorption spectroscopy, transmission electron microscopy, and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy. Our results support the hypothesis that interstellar silicates \textbf{can be formed} in the low temperature regions of the interstellar medium by accretion through barrierless reactions.

Gas structure inside dust cavities of transition disks: Oph IRS 48 observed by ALMA

(Abridged) Transition disks are recognized by the absence of emission of small dust grains inside a radius of up to several 10s of AUs. Due to the lack of angular resolution and sensitivity, the gas content of such dust holes has not yet been determined, but is of importance to constrain the mechanism leading to the dust holes. Transition disks are thought to currently undergo the process of dispersal, setting an end to the giant planet formation process. We present new high-resolution observations with the Atacama Large Millimeter/ submillimeter Array (ALMA) of gas lines towards the transition disk Oph IRS 48 previously shown to host a large dust trap. ALMA has detected the $J=6-5$ line of $^{12}$CO and C$^{17}$O around 690 GHz (434 $\mu$m) at a resolution of $\sim$0.25$”$ corresponding to $\sim$30 AU (FWHM). The observed gas lines are used to set constraints on the gas surface density profile. New models of the physical-chemical structure of gas and dust in Oph IRS 48 are developed to reproduce the CO line emission together with the spectral energy distribution (SED) and the VLT-VISIR 18.7 $\mu$m dust continuum images. Integrated intensity cuts and the total spectrum from models having different trial gas surface density profiles are compared to observations. Using the derived surface density profiles, predictions for other CO isotopologues are made, which can be tested by future ALMA observations of the object. The derived gas surface density profile points to the clearing of the cavity by one or more massive planet/companion rather than just photoevaporation or grain-growth.

The Dust Scattering Halo of Cygnus X-3

Dust grains scatter X-ray light through small angles, producing a diffuse `halo’ image around bright X-ray point sources situated behind a large amount of interstellar material. We present analytic solutions to the integral for the dust scattering intensity, which allow for a Bayesian analysis of the scattering halo around Cygnus X-3. Fitting the halo surface brightness profile yields the dust grain size and spatial distribution. We assume a power law distribution of grain sizes ($n \propto a^{-p}$) and fit for $p$, the grain radius cut-off $a_{\rm max} $, and dust mass column. A model where dust is distributed uniformly along the line of sight to Cyg X-3 fits the halo profile well, with $p = 3.6$ and $a_{\rm max} = 0.18 \ \mu{\rm m}$. We also attempt a model consisting of dust screens, representative of a foreground spiral arm and star forming complex Cyg OB2. This requires a minimum of two dust screens: the closest containing 80% of the total dust mass, and the furthest being within 1 kpc of Cyg X-3. The best two-screen fit parameters yield $p = 4.8$ and $a_{\rm max} = 0.3 \ \mu{\rm m}$. Regardless of which model was used, we found $\tau_{\rm sca} \sim 0.8 \ E_{\rm keV}^{-2}$. X-ray spectroscopy yields a total ISM column $N_H \approx 7 \times 10^{22}$ cm$^{-2}$, which is higher than previous estimates. We combine this information with the dust mass column to calculate a dust-to-gas mass ratio. The uniform (two-screen) fit yields a ratio that is a fraction of (on the order of) that typically assumed for the Milky Way. By comparing halo profiles in different energy bins, we find hints that large dust grains may be contributing to the absorption of $E<2.5$ keV X-rays from Cyg X-3.

Calculation of Stochastic Heating and Emissivity of Cosmic Dust Grains with Optimization for the Intel Many Integrated Core Architecture

Cosmic dust particles effectively attenuate starlight. Their absorption of starlight produces emission spectra from the near- to far-infrared, which depends on the sizes and properties of the dust grains, and spectrum of the heating radiation field. The near- to mid-infrared is dominated by the emissions by very small grains. Modeling the absorption of starlight by these particles is, however, computationally expensive and a significant bottleneck for self-consistent radiation transport codes treating the heating of dust by stars. In this paper, we summarize the formalism for computing the stochastic emissivity of cosmic dust, which was developed in earlier works, and present a new library HEATCODE implementing this formalism for the calculation for arbitrary grain properties and heating radiation fields. Our library is highly optimized for general-purpose processors with multiple cores and vector instructions, with hierarchical memory cache structure. The HEATCODE library also efficiently runs on co-processor cards implementing the Intel Many Integrated Core (Intel MIC) architecture. We discuss in detail the optimization steps that we took in order to optimize for the Intel MIC architecture, which also significantly benefited the performance of the code on general-purpose processors, and provide code samples and performance benchmarks for each step. The HEATCODE library performance on a single Intel Xeon Phi coprocessor (Intel MIC architecture) is approximately 2 times a general-purpose two-socket multicore processor system with approximately the same nominal power consumption. The library supports heterogeneous calculations employing host processors simultaneously with multiple coprocessors, and can be easily incorporated into existing radiation transport codes.

Electrostatic activation of prebiotic chemistry in substellar atmospheres

Charged dust grains in the atmospheres of exoplanets may play a key role in the formation of prebiotic molecules, necessary to the origin of life. Dust grains submerged in an atmospheric plasma become negatively charged and attract a flux of ions that are accelerated from the plasma. The energy of the ions upon reaching the grain surface may be sufficient to overcome the activation energy of particular chemical reactions that would be unattainable via ion and neutral bombardment from classical, thermal excitation. As a result, prebiotic molecules or their precursors could be synthesised on the surface of dust grains that form clouds in exoplanetary atmospheres. This paper investigates the energization of the plasma ions, and the dependence on the plasma electron temperature, in the atmospheres of substellar objects such as gas giant planets. Calculations show that modest electron temperatures of $\approx 1$ eV ($\approx 10^{4}$ K) are enough to accelerate ions to sufficient energies that exceed the activation energies required for the formation of formaldehyde, ammonia, hydrogen cyanide and the amino acid glycine.

Small vs large dust grains in transitional disks: do different cavity sizes indicate a planet?

Transitional disks represent a short stage of the evolution of circumstellar material. Studies of dust grains in these objects can provide pivotal information on the mechanisms of planet formation. Dissimilarities in the spatial distribution of small (micron-size) and large (millimeter-size) dust grains have recently been pointed out. Constraints on the small dust grains can be obtained by imaging the distribution of scattered light at near-infrared wavelengths. We aim at resolving structures in the surface layer of transitional disks (with particular emphasis on the inner 10 – 50 AU), thus increasing the scarce sample of high resolution images of these objects. We obtained VLT/NACO near-IR high-resolution polarimetric differential imaging observations of SAO 206462 (HD135344B). This technique allows one to image the polarized scattered light from the disk without any occulting mask and to reach an inner working angle of 0.1”. A face-on disk is detected in H and Ks bands between 0.1” and 0.9”. No significant differences are seen between the H and Ks images. In addition to the spiral arms, these new data allow us to resolve for the first time an inner cavity for small dust grains. The cavity size (about 28 AU) is much smaller than what is inferred for large dust grains from (sub)mm observations (39 to 50 AU). The interaction between the disk and potential orbiting companion(s) can explain both the spiral arm structure and the discrepant cavity sizes for small and large dust grains. One planet may be carving out the gas (and, thus, the small grains) at 28 AU, and generating a pressure bump at larger radii (39 AU), which holds back the large grains. We analytically estimate that, in this scenario, a single giant planet (with a mass between 5 and 15 Jupiter masses) at 17 to 20 AU from the star is consistent with the observed cavity sizes.

The impact of freeze-out on collapsing molecular clouds

Atoms and molecules, and in particular CO, are important coolants during the evolution of interstellar star-forming gas clouds. The presence of dust grains, which allow many chemical reactions to occur on their surfaces, strongly impacts the chemical composition of a cloud. At low temperatures, dust grains can lock-up species from the gas phase which freeze out and form ices. In this sense, dust can deplete important coolants. Our aim is to understand the effects of freeze-out on the thermal balance and the evolution of a gravitationally bound molecular cloud. For this purpose, we perform 3D hydrodynamical simulations with the adaptive mesh code FLASH. We simulate a gravitationally unstable cloud under two different conditions, with and without grain surface chemistry. We let the cloud evolve until one free-fall time is reached and track the thermal evolution and the abundances of species during this time. We see that at a number density of 10$^4$ cm$^{-3}$ most of the CO molecules are frozen on dust grains in the run with grain surface chemistry, thereby depriving the most important coolant. As a consequence, we find that the temperature of the gas rises up to $\sim$25 K. The temperature drops once again due to gas-grain collisional cooling when the density reaches a few$\times$10$^4$ cm$^{-3}$. We conclude that grain surface chemistry not only affects the chemical abundances in the gas phase, but also leaves a distinct imprint in the thermal evolution that impacts the fragmentation of a star-forming cloud. As a final step, we present the equation of state of a collapsing molecular cloud that has grain surface chemistry included.

The impact of freeze-out on collapsing molecular clouds [Replacement]

Atoms and molecules, and in particular CO, are important coolants during the evolution of interstellar star-forming gas clouds. The presence of dust grains, which allow many chemical reactions to occur on their surfaces, strongly impacts the chemical composition of a cloud. At low temperatures, dust grains can lock-up species from the gas phase which freeze out and form ices. In this sense, dust can deplete important coolants. Our aim is to understand the effects of freeze-out on the thermal balance and the evolution of a gravitationally bound molecular cloud. For this purpose, we perform 3D hydrodynamical simulations with the adaptive mesh code FLASH. We simulate a gravitationally unstable cloud under two different conditions, with and without grain surface chemistry. We let the cloud evolve until one free-fall time is reached and track the thermal evolution and the abundances of species during this time. We see that at a number density of 10$^4$ cm$^{-3}$ most of the CO molecules are frozen on dust grains in the run with grain surface chemistry, thereby depriving the most important coolant. As a consequence, we find that the temperature of the gas rises up to $\sim$25 K. The temperature drops once again due to gas-grain collisional cooling when the density reaches a few$\times$10$^4$ cm$^{-3}$. We conclude that grain surface chemistry not only affects the chemical abundances in the gas phase, but also leaves a distinct imprint in the thermal evolution that impacts the fragmentation of a star-forming cloud. As a final step, we present the equation of state of a collapsing molecular cloud that has grain surface chemistry included.

Polarization in binary microlensing events

The light received by source stars in microlensing events may be significantly polarized if both an efficient photon scattering mechanism is active in the source stellar atmosphere and a differential magnification is therein induced by the lensing system. The best candidate events for observing polarization are highly magnified events with source stars belonging to the class of cool, giant stars {in which the stellar light is polarized by photon scattering on dust grains contained in their envelopes. The presence in the stellar atmosphere of an internal cavity devoid of dust produces polarization profiles with a two peaks structure. Hence, the time interval between them gives an important observable quantity directly related to the size of the internal cavity and to the model parameters of the lens system.} We show that {during a microlensing event} the expected polarization variability can solve an ambiguity, that arises in some cases, related to the binary or planetary lensing interpretation of the perturbations observed near the maximum of the event light-curve. We consider a specific event case for which the parameter values corresponding to the two solutions are given. Then, assuming a polarization model for the source star, we compute the two expected polarization profiles. The position of the two peaks appearing in the polarization curves and the characteristic time interval between them allow us to distinguish between the binary and planetary lens solutions.

Effects of grain growth mechanisms on the extinction curve and the metal depletion in the interstellar medium

Dust grains grow their sizes in the interstellar clouds (especially in molecular clouds) by accretion and coagulation. Here we model and test these processes by examining the consistency with the observed variation of the extinction curves in the Milky Way. We find that, if we simply use the parameters used in previous studies, the model fails to explain the flattening of far-UV extinction curve for large $R_V$ (flatness of optical extinction curve) and the existence of carbon bump even in flat extinction curves. This discrepancy is resolved by adopting a `tuned’ model, in which coagulation of carbonaceous dust is less efficient (by a factor of 2) and that of silicate is more efficient with the coagulation threshold removed. The tuned model is also consistent with the relation between silicon depletion (indicator of accretion) and $R_V$ if the duration of accretion and coagulation is >100(n_H/10^3 cm^{-3})^{-1} Myr, where n_H is the number density of hydrogen nuclei in the cloud. We also examine the relations between each of the extinction curve features (UV slope, far-UV curvature, and carbon bump strength) and $R_V$. The correlation between UV slope and $R_V$, which is the strongest among the three correlations, is well reproduced by the tuned model. For far-UV curvature and carbon bump strength, the observational data are located between the tuned model and the original model without tuning, implying that the large scatters in the observational data can be explained by the sensitive response to the coagulation efficiency. The overall success of the tuned model indicates that accretion and coagulation are promising mechanisms of producing the variation of extinction curves in the Milky Way, although we do not exclude possibilities of other dust-processing mechanisms changing extinction curves.

Probing Oort Cloud and local ISM properties via dust produced in cometary collisions

The Oort Cloud remains one of the most poorly explored regions of the Solar System. We propose that its properties can be constrained by detecting and studying from space a population of dust grains produced in collisions of comets in the outer Solar System. We explore the dynamics of micron-size grains outside the heliosphere (beyond ~250 AU), which are affected predominantly by the magnetic field of the interstellar medium (ISM) flow past the Sun. We derive analytic models for the production and motion of small particles as a function of their birth location in the Cloud and calculate particle flux and velocity distribution in the inner Solar System. These models are verified by direct numerical simulations. We show that grains originating in the Oort Cloud have a unique distribution of arrival directions (mainly perpendicular to both the ISM wind velocity and the ISM magnetic field), which should easily distinguish them from both interplanetary and interstellar dust populations. We also demonstrate that the distribution of particle arrival velocities is uniquely related to the spatial distribution of the dust production inside the Cloud. The latter is, in turn, determined both by the mass distribution in the Cloud and the physical properties of comets. Cometary collisions within the Oort Cloud are expected to produce a flux of micron-size grains in the inner Solar System of up to several m^{-2} yr^{-1}. The next-generation dust detectors may be sensitive enough to detect and constrain this dust population, which will illuminate us about the Oort Cloud’s properties. We also show that the recently-detected mysterious population of large (micron-size) unbound particles, which seems to arrive with the ISM flow is unlikely to be of a cometary origin.

Probing Oort Cloud and Local Interstellar Medium Properties via Dust Produced in Cometary Collisions [Replacement]

The Oort Cloud remains one of the most poorly explored regions of the Solar System. We propose that its properties can be constrained by studying a population of dust grains produced in collisions of comets in the outer Solar System. We explore the dynamics of micron-size grains outside the heliosphere (beyond ~250 AU), which are affected predominantly by the magnetic field of the interstellar medium (ISM) flow past the Sun. We derive analytic models for the production and motion of small particles as a function of their birth location in the Cloud and calculate the particle flux and velocity distribution in the inner Solar System. These models are verified by direct numerical simulations. We show that grains originating in the Oort Cloud have a unique distribution of arrival directions, which should easily distinguish them from both interplanetary and interstellar dust populations. We also demonstrate that the distribution of particle arrival velocities is uniquely determined the mass distribution and dust production rate in the Cloud. Cometary collisions within the Cloud produce a flux of micron-size grains in the inner Solar System of up to several per square meter per year. The next-generation dust detectors may be sensitive enough to detect and constrain this dust population, which will illuminate us about the Oort Cloud’s properties. We also show that the recently-detected mysterious population of large (micron-size) unbound particles, which seems to arrive with the ISM flow is unlikely to be generated by collisions of comets in the Oort Cloud.

Large-scale Interstellar Structure and the Heliosphere

The properties of interstellar clouds near the Sun are ordered by the Loop I superbubble and by the interstellar radiation field. Comparisons of the kinematics and magnetic field of the interstellar gas flowing past the Sun, including the Local Interstellar Cloud (LIC), indicate a geometric relation between Loop I as defined by radio synchrotron emission, and the interstellar magnetic field that polarizes nearby starlight. Depletion of Fe and Mg onto dust grains in the LIC shows a surprising relation to the far ultraviolet interstellar radiation field that is best explained by a scenario for the LIC to be extended, possibly filamentary, porous material drifting through space with the Loop I superbubble. The interstellar velocity and magnetic field measured by the Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) help anchor our understanding of the physical properties of the nearby interstellar medium.

Growing dust grains in protoplanetary discs - III. Vertical settling [Replacement]

We aim to derive a simple analytic model to understand the essential properties of vertically settling growing dust grains in laminar protoplanetary discs. Separating the vertical dynamics from the motion in the disc midplane, we integrate the equations of motion for both a linear and an exponential grain growth rate. Numerical integrations are performed for more complex growth models. We find that the settling efficiency depends on the value of the dimensionless parameter gamma, which characterises the relative efficiency of grain growth with respect to the gas drag. Since gamma is expected to be of order as the initial dust-to-gas ratio in the disc (of order 10^-2), grain growth enhances the energy dissipation of the dust particles and improve the settling efficiency in protoplanetary discs. This behaviour is mostly independent of the growth model considered as well as of the radial drift of the particles.

Growing dust grains in protoplanetary discs - III. Vertical settling

We aim to derive a simple analytic model to understand the essential properties of vertically settling growing dust grains in laminar protoplanetary discs. Separating the vertical dynamics from the motion in the disc midplane, we integrate the equations of motion for both a linear and an exponential grain growth rate. Numerical integrations are performed for more complex growth models. We find that the settling efficiency depends on the value of the dimensionless parameter gamma, which characterises the relative efficiency of grain growth with respect to the gas drag. Since gamma is expected to be of order as the initial dust-to-gas ratio in the disc (of order 10^-2), grain growth enhances the energy dissipation of the dust particles and improve the settling efficiency in protoplanetary discs. This behaviour is mostly independent of the growth model considered as well as of the radial drift of the particles.

Growing dust grains in protoplanetary discs - II. The Radial drift barrier problem [Replacement]

We aim to study the migration of growing dust grains in protoplanetary discs, where growth and migration are tightly coupled. This includes the crucial issue of the radial-drift barrier for growing dust grains. We therefore extend the study performed in Paper I, considering models for grain growth and grain dynamics where both the migration and growth rate depend on the grain size and the location in the disc. The parameter space of disc profiles and growth models is exhaustively explored. In doing so, interpretations for the grain motion found in numerical simulations are also provided. We find that a large number of cases is required to characterise entirely the grains radial motion, providing a large number of possible outcomes. Some of them lead dust particles to be accreted onto the central star and some of them don’t. We find then that q<1 is required for discs to retain their growing particles, where q is the exponent of the radial temperature profile T(R) proportional to R^-q. Additionally, the initial dust-to gas ratio has to exceed a critical value for grains to pile up efficiently, thus avoiding being accreted onto the central star. Discs are also found to retain efficiently small dust grains regenerated by fragmentation. We show how those results are sensitive to the turbulent model considered. Even though some physical processes have been neglected, this study allows to sketch a scenario in which grains can survive the radial-drift barrier in protoplanetary discs as they grow.

Growing dust grains in protoplanetary discs - II. The Radial drift barrier problem

We aim to study the migration of growing dust grains in protoplanetary discs, where growth and migration are tightly coupled. This includes the crucial issue of the radial-drift barrier for growing dust grains. We therefore extend the study performed in Paper I, considering models for grain growth and grain dynamics where both the migration and growth rate depend on the grain size and the location in the disc. The parameter space of disc profiles and growth models is exhaustively explored. In doing so, interpretations for the grain motion found in numerical simulations are also provided. We find that a large number of cases is required to characterise entirely the grains radial motion, providing a large number of possible outcomes. Some of them lead dust particles to be accreted onto the central star and some of them don’t. We find then that q<1 is required for discs to retain their growing particles, where q is the exponent of the radial temperature profile T(R) proportional to R^-q. Additionally, the initial dust-to gas ratio has to exceed a critical value for grains to pile up efficiently, thus avoiding being accreted onto the central star. Discs are also found to retain efficiently small dust grains regenerated by fragmentation. We show how those results are sensitive to the turbulent model considered. Even though some physical processes have been neglected, this study allows to sketch a scenario in which grains can survive the radial-drift barrier in protoplanetary discs as they grow.

Growing dust grains in protoplanetary discs - I. Radial drift with toy growth models [Replacement]

In a series of papers, we present a comprehensive analytic study of the global motion of growing dust grains in protoplanetary discs, addressing both the radial drift and the vertical settling of the particles. Here we study how the radial drift of dust particles is affected by grain growth. In a first step, toy models in which grain growth can either be constant, accelerate or decelerate are introduced. The equations of motion are analytically integrable and therefore the grains dynamics is easy to understand. The radial motion of growing grains is governed by the relative efficiency of the growth and migration processes which is expressed by the dimensionless parameter Lambda, as well as the exponents for the gas surface density and temperature profiles, denoted p and q respectively. When Lambda is of order unity, growth and migration are strongly coupled, providing the most efficient radial drift. For the toy models considered, grains pile up when -p+q+1/2<0. Importantly, we show the existence of a second process which can help discs to retain their solid materials. For accelerating growth, grains end up their migration at a finite radius, thus avoiding being accreted onto the central star.

Growing dust grains in protoplanetary discs - I. Radial drift with toy growth models

In a series of papers, we present a comprehensive analytic study of the global motion of growing dust grains in protoplanetary discs, addressing both the radial drift and the vertical settling of the particles. Here we study how the radial drift of dust particles is affected by grain growth. In a first step, toy models in which grain growth can either be constant, accelerate or decelerate are introduced. The equations of motion are analytically integrable and therefore the grains dynamics is easy to understand. The radial motion of growing grains is governed by the relative efficiency of the growth and migration processes which is expressed by the dimensionless parameter Lambda, as well as the exponents for the gas surface density and temperature profiles, denoted p and q respectively. When Lambda is of order unity, growth and migration are strongly coupled, providing the most efficient radial drift. For the toy models considered, grains pile up when -p+q+1/2<0. Importantly, we show the existence of a second process which can help discs to retain their solid materials. For accelerating growth, grains end up their migration at a finite radius, thus avoiding being accreted onto the central star.

Grain Size segregation in debris discs

In most debris discs, dust grain dynamics is strongly affected by stellar radiation pressure. As this mechanism is size-dependent, we expect dust grains to be spatially segregated according to their sizes. However, because of the complex interplay between radiation pressure, collisions and dynamical perturbations, this spatial segregation of the particle size distribution (PSD) has proven difficult to investigate with numerical models. We propose to explore this issue using a new-generation code that can handle some of the coupling between dynamical and collisional effects. We investigate how PSDs behave in both unperturbed discs "at rest" and in discs pertubed by planetary objects. We use the DyCoSS code of Thebault(2012) to investigate the coupled effect of collisions, radiation pressure and dynamical perturbations in systems having reached a steady state. We consider 2 setups: a narrow ring perturbed by an exterior planet, and an extended disc into which a planet is embedded. For both setups we consider an additional unperturbed case with no planet. We also investigate how possible spatial size segregation affect disc images at different wavelengths. We find that PSDs are always strongly spatially segregated. The only case for which they follow a standard dn/dr = C.r**(-3.5) law is for an unperturbed narrow ring, but only within the parent body ring itself. For all other configurations, the PSD can strongly depart from such power laws and have strong spatial gradients. As an example, the geometrical cross section of the disc is rarely dominated by the smallest grains on bound orbits, as it is expected to be in standard PSDs in s**q with q<-3. Although the exact profiles and spatial variations of PSDs are a complex function of the considered set-up, we are however able to derive some robust results that should be useful for image-or-SED-fitting models of observed discs.

Grain Size segregation in debris discs [Replacement]

In most debris discs, dust grain dynamics is strongly affected by stellar radiation pressure. As this mechanism is size-dependent, we expect dust grains to be spatially segregated according to their sizes. However, because of the complex interplay between radiation pressure, collisions and dynamical perturbations, this spatial segregation of the particle size distribution (PSD) has proven difficult to investigate with numerical models. We propose to explore this issue using a new-generation code that can handle some of the coupling between dynamical and collisional effects. We investigate how PSDs behave in both unperturbed discs "at rest" and in discs pertubed by planetary objects. We use the DyCoSS code of Thebault(2012) to investigate the coupled effect of collisions, radiation pressure and dynamical perturbations in systems having reached a steady state. We consider 2 setups: a narrow ring perturbed by an exterior planet, and an extended disc into which a planet is embedded. For both setups we consider an additional unperturbed case with no planet. We also investigate how possible spatial size segregation affect disc images at different wavelengths. We find that PSDs are always strongly spatially segregated. The only case for which they follow a standard dn/dr = C.r**(-3.5) law is for an unperturbed narrow ring, but only within the parent body ring itself. For all other configurations, the PSD can strongly depart from such power laws and have strong spatial gradients. As an example, the geometrical cross section of the disc is rarely dominated by the smallest grains on bound orbits, as it is expected to be in standard PSDs in s**q with q<-3. Although the exact profiles and spatial variations of PSDs are a complex function of the considered set-up, we are however able to derive some robust results that should be useful for image-or-SED-fitting models of observed discs.

Grain Size segregation in debris discs [Replacement]

In most debris discs, dust grain dynamics is strongly affected by stellar radiation pressure. As this mechanism is size-dependent, we expect dust grains to be spatially segregated according to their sizes. However, because of the complex interplay between radiation pressure, collisions and dynamical perturbations, this spatial segregation of the particle size distribution (PSD) has proven difficult to investigate with numerical models. We propose to explore this issue using a new-generation code that can handle some of the coupling between dynamical and collisional effects. We investigate how PSDs behave in both unperturbed discs "at rest" and in discs pertubed by planetary objects. We use the DyCoSS code of Thebault(2012) to investigate the coupled effect of collisions, radiation pressure and dynamical perturbations in systems having reached a steady state. We consider 2 setups: a narrow ring perturbed by an exterior planet, and an extended disc into which a planet is embedded. For both setups we consider an additional unperturbed case with no planet. We also investigate how possible spatial size segregation affect disc images at different wavelengths. We find that PSDs are always strongly spatially segregated. The only case for which they follow a standard dn/dr = C.r**(-3.5) law is for an unperturbed narrow ring, but only within the parent body ring itself. For all other configurations, the PSD can strongly depart from such power laws and have strong spatial gradients. As an example, the geometrical cross section of the disc is rarely dominated by the smallest grains on bound orbits, as it is expected to be in standard PSDs in s**q with q<-3. Although the exact profiles and spatial variations of PSDs are a complex function of the considered set-up, we are however able to derive some robust results that should be useful for image-or-SED-fitting models of observed discs.

 

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