EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 459, Number 3, December I 2006
Page(s) 797 - 804
Section Interstellar and circumstellar matter
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20053275

A&A 459, 797-804 (2006)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20053275

Monte Carlo radiative transfer in protoplanetary disks

C. Pinte1, F. Ménard1, G. Duchêne1, and P. Bastien2

1  Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Grenoble, CNRS/UJF UMR 5571, 414 rue de la Piscine, BP 53, 38041 Grenoble Cedex 9, France
    e-mail: christophe.pinte@obs.ujf-grenoble.fr
2  Département de physique et Observatoire du Mont-Mégantic, Université de Montréal, C. P. 6128, Succ. Centre-ville, Montréal, QC H3C 3J7, Canada

(Received 20 April 2005 / Accepted 28 June 2006)

Aims.We present a new continuum 3D radiative transfer code, MCFOST, based on a Monte-Carlo method. MCFOST can be used to calculate (i) monochromatic images in scattered light and/or thermal emission; (ii) polarisation maps; (iii) interferometric visibilities; (iv) spectral energy distributions; and (v) dust temperature distributions of protoplanetary disks.
Methods.Several improvements to the standard Monte Carlo method are implemented in MCFOST to increase efficiency and reduce convergence time, including wavelength distribution adjustments, mean intensity calculations, and an adaptive sampling of the radiation field. The reliability and efficiency of the code are tested against a previously-defined benchmark, using a 2D disk configuration. No significant difference (no more than 10% and usually much less) is found between the temperatures and SEDs calculated by MCFOST and by other codes included in the benchmark.
Results. A study of the lowest disk mass detectable by Spitzer, around young stars, is presented and the colours of "representative" parametric disks compared to recent IRAC and MIPS Spitzer colours of solar-like young stars located in nearby star-forming regions.

Key words: radiative transfer -- stars: circumstellar matter -- methods : numerical -- polarization -- scattering

© ESO 2006