The chemical evolution of the youngest planet forming discs

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Physikzentrum Bad Honnef

Physikzentrum Bad Honnef

Physikzentrum Bad Honnef Hauptstr. 5 53604 Bad Honnef Tel.: (0 22 24) 90 10 114 Fax: (0 22 24) 90 10 130


John Ilee (Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge)


Protoplanetary discs are one of the most extreme environments in astrophysics, spanning a huge range of temperatures and densities. As such, modelling their chemical evolution is challenging, and has often been reduced to the study of 2-dimensional, axisymmetric discs. However, the advent of ALMA has shown that many protoplanetary discs do not conform to this axisymmetry. In particular, the influence of the dynamic evolution of the disc on the chemical evolution has not been well studied. I will discuss my work on the calculation of disc chemistry in three dimensions, including the effects of self gravitating shocks in young, massive discs and their implications for the initial chemical conditions of more evolved, Class II protoplanetary discs. I will present the application of these techniques to planet formation itself, outlining my recent work to characterise the chemical composition of protoplanetary fragments formed via gravitational instability, finding that simple assumptions about their composition may not hold. Finally, I will discuss ongoing work assessing the effects of dynamics on the abundance of complex organic molecules (including those that are biologically-relevant) in discs and protoplanets, and predictions for the observability of these objects with facilities such as ALMA and the SKA.

Primary author

John Ilee (Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge)

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