Wednesday 11 Oct 2017The chemistry of planet-forming disks in the era of ALMA

Dr. Catherine Walsh - University of Leeds

Physics, 4th Floor 11:30-12:30

ALMA (the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array) has shone light on the diversity in molecular composition and emission morphology of nearby planet-forming disks. These new data highlight that gas and ice chemistry ongoing during the epoch of planet formation, not only determines the composition of planet-building material, but also emphasize many different physical effects. The unprecedented sensitivity of ALMA has allowed the first detection of so-called 'complex organic molecules', or COMs, defined in astrochemistry as molecules with greater than five atoms. The detection and analysis of COM emission from planet-forming disks is vital for understanding the chemical archaeological record of our Solar System contained within comets. In this seminar, I will give an overview of current understanding of protoplanetary disk chemistry in light of recent data from ALMA. I will discuss how chemistry affects the dust-ice-gas balance and influences the composition of forming comets (or icy planetesimals), the building blocks of planets.

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