Chemistry in a gravitationally unstable protoplanetary disc

J. D. Ilee, A. C. Boley, P. Caselli, R. H. Durisen, T. W. Hartquist, J. M. C. Rawlings

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40 Citations (Scopus)


Until now, axisymmetric, α-disc models have been adopted for calculations of the chemical composition of protoplanetary discs. While this approach is reasonable for many discs, it is not appropriate when self-gravity is important. In this case, spiral waves and shocks cause temperature and density variations that affect the chemistry. We have adopted a dynamical model of a solar-mass star surrounded by a massive (0.39 M⊙), self-gravitating disc, similar to those that may be found around Class 0 and early Class I protostars, in a study of disc chemistry. We find that for each of a number of species, e.g. H2O, adsorption and desorption dominate the changes in the gas-phase fractional abundance; because the desorption rates are very sensitive to temperature, maps of the emissions from such species should reveal the locations of shocks of varying strengths. The gas-phase fractional abundances of some other species, e.g. CS, are also affected by gas-phase reactions, particularly in warm shocked regions. We conclude that the dynamics of massive discs have a strong impact on how they appear when imaged in the emission lines of various molecular species.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2950-2961
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 11 Nov 2011


  • astrochemistry
  • protoplanetary discs
  • circumstellar matter
  • stars: pre-main-sequence


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