Letter to the Editor
Cold CO in circumstellar disks
On the effects of photodesorption and vertical mixing
Université de Bordeaux, Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Bordeaux (LAB), France e-mail: Franck.Hersant@obs.u-bordeaux1.fr
2 CNRS/INSU – UMR 5804, BP 89, 33271 Floirac Cedex, France
3 Departments of Physics, Astronomy, and Chemistry, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA
Accepted: 9 December 2008
Aims. We attempt to understand the presence of gas phase CO below its sublimation temperature in circumstellar disks. We study two promising mechanisms to explain this phenomenon: turbulent mixing and photodesorption.
Methods. We compute the chemical evolution of circumstellar disks including grain surface reactions with and without turbulent mixing and CO photodesorption.
Results. We show that photodesorption significantly enhances the gas phase CO abundance, by extracting CO from the grains when the visual extinction remains below about 5 mag. However, the resulting dependence of column density on radial distance is inconsistent with observations so far. We propose that this inconsistency could be the result of grain growth. On the other hand, the influence of turbulent mixing is not found to be straightforward. The efficiency of turbulent mixing depends upon a variety of parameters, including the disk structure. For the set of parameters we chose, turbulent mixing is not found to have any significant influence on the CO column density.
Key words: stars: circumstellar matter / stars: planetary systems: protoplanetary disks / astrochemistry / turbulence
© ESO, 2009