Dust in protoplanetary disks: observations*
1 SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research, Sorbonnelaan 2, 3584 CA Utrecht, The Netherlands
2 Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy, University of Amsterdam, PO BOX 94249, 1090 GE Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Published online: 23 September 2015
Solid particles, usually referred to as dust, are a crucial component of interstellar matter and of planet forming disks surrounding young stars. Despite the relatively small mass fraction of ≈1% (in the solar neighborhood of our galaxy; this number may differ substantially in other galaxies) that interstellar grains represent of the total mass budget of interstellar matter, dust grains play an important role in the physics and chemistry of interstellar matter. This is because of the opacity dust grains at short (optical, UV) wavelengths, and the surface they provide for chemical reactions. In addition, dust grains play a pivotal role in the planet formation process: in the core accretion model of planet formation, the growth of dust grains from the microscopic size range to large, cm-sized or larger grains is the first step in planet formation. Not only the grain size distribution is affected by planet formation. Chemical and physical processes alter the structure and chemical composition of dust grains as they enter the protoplanetary disk and move closer to the forming star. Therefore, a lot can be learned about the way stars and planets are formed by observations of dust in protoplanetary disks. Ideally, one would like to measure the dust mass, the grain size distribution, grain structure (porosity, fluffiness), the chemical composition, and all of these as a function of position in the disk. Fortunately, several observational diagnostics are available to derive constrains on these quantities. In combination with rapidly increasing quality of the data (spatial and spectral resolution), a lot of progress has been made in our understanding of dust evolution in protoplanetary disks. An excellent review of dust evolution in protoplanetary disks can be found in Testi et al. (2014).
© Owned by the authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2015
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