Volume 537, January 2012
|Number of page(s)
|Interstellar and circumstellar matter
|24 January 2012
The role of OH in the chemical evolution of protoplanetary disks
I. The comet-forming region
Kapteyn Astronomical Institute, Postbus 800, 9747 AV Groningen, The Netherlands
Received: 5 October 2010
Accepted: 2 November 2011
Context. Time-dependent gas-grain chemistry can help us understand the layered structure of species deposited onto the surface of grains during the lifetime of a protoplanetary disk. The history of trapping large quantities of carbon- and oxygen-bearing molecules onto the grains is especially significant for the formation of more complex (organic) molecules on the surface of grains.
Aims. Among other processes, cosmic ray-induced UV photoprocesses can lead to the efficient formation of OH. Using a more accurate treatment of cosmic ray-gas interactions for disks, we obtain an increased cosmic ray-induced UV photon flux of 3.8 × 105 photons cm-2 s-1 for a cosmic-ray ionization rate of H2 value of 5 × 10-17 s-1 (compared to previous estimates of 104 photons cm-2 s-1 based on ISM dust properties). We explore the role of the enhanced OH abundance on the gas-grain chemistry in the midplane of the disk at 10 AU, which is a plausible location of comet formation. We focus on studying the formation/destruction pathways and timescales of the dominant chemical species.
Methods. We solved the chemical rate equations based on a gas-grain chemical network and correcting for the enhanced cosmic ray-induced UV field. This field was estimated from an appropriate treatment of dust properties in a protoplanetary disk, as opposed to previous estimates that assume an ISM-like grain size distribution. We also explored the chemical effects of photodesorption of water ice into OH+H.
Results. Near the end of the disk’s lifetime our chemical model yields H2O, CO, CO2, and CH4 ice abundances at 10 AU (consistent with a midplane density of 1010 cm-3 and a temperature of 20 K) that are compatible with measurements of the chemical composition of cometary bodies for a [C/O] ratio of 0.16. This comparison puts constraints on the physical conditions in which comets were formed.
Key words: astrochemistry / comets: general / protoplanetary disks / molecular processes / cosmic rays
© ESO, 2012
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