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Turbulent-diffusion Mediated CO Depletion in Weakly Turbulent Protoplanetary Disks




  • Xu, Rui, Bai, Xue-Ning and Öberg, Karin


  • Volatiles, especially CO, are important gas tracers of protoplanetary disks (PPDs). Freeze-out and sublimation processes determine their division between gas and solid phases, which affects both which disk regions can be traced by which volatiles, and the formation and composition of planets. Recently, multiple lines of evidence have suggested that CO is substantially depleted from the gas in the outer regions of PPDs, i.e., more depleted than would be expected from a simple balance between freeze-out and sublimation. In this paper, we show that the gas dynamics in the outer PPDs facilitates volatile depletion through turbulent diffusion. Using a simple 1D model that incorporates dust settling, turbulent diffusion of dust and volatiles, as well as volatile freeze-out/sublimation processes, we find that as long as turbulence in the cold midplane is sufficiently weak to allow a majority of the small grains to settle, CO in the warm surface layer can diffuse into the midplane region and deplete by freeze-out. The level of depletion sensitively depends on the level of disk turbulence. Based on recent disk simulations that suggest a layered turbulence profile with very weak midplane turbulence and strong turbulence at the disk surface,

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Publication Date

  • 2017



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