STRW local: Student Colloqia

Student Colloquia

From Midplane to Planets: the Chemical Fingerprint of a Disk (PhD colloquium)

Since the dawn of times, mankind has wondered about the formation and volatile composition of giant planet atmospheres. Connecting the observed composition of exoplanets to their formation sites often involves comparing the observed planetary atmospheric carbon-to-oxygen (C/O) ratio to a disk midplane model with a fixed chemical composition. In this scenario chemistry during the planet formation era is not considered, and the C/O ratios of gas and ice in disk midplane are simply defined by volatile icelines in a midplane of fixed chemical composition. However, kinetic chemical evolution during the lifetime of the gaseous disk can change the relative abundances of volatile species, thus altering the C/O ratios of planetary building blocks. In my chemical evolution models I utilize a large network of gas-phase, grain-surface and gas-grain interaction reactions, thus providing a comprehensive treatment of chemistry. In my talk I will show how chemical evolution can modify disk miplane chemistry and how this affects the C/O ratio of giant planet-forming material. I will argue that midplane chemical evolution needs to be addressed when predicting the chemical makeup of planets and their atmospheres. And as an extra, I will propose that chemical evolution can help constrain the formation histories of comets.