Protoplanetary disk masses from stars to brown dwarfs

Subhanjoy Mohanty, Jane Greaves, Daniel Mortlock, Ilaria Pascucci, Alexander Scholz, Mark Thompson, Daniel Apai, Giuseppe Lodato, Dagny Looper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Citations (Scopus)


We present SCUBA-2 850 μm observations of seven very low mass stars (VLMS) and brown dwarfs (BDs). Three are in Taurus and four in the TW Hydrae Association (TWA), and all are classical T Tauri (cTT) analogs. We detect two of the three Taurus disks (one only marginally), but none of the TWA ones. For standard grains in cTT disks, our 3σ limits correspond to a dust mass of 1.2 M in Taurus and a mere 0.2M in the TWA (3-10x deeper than previous work). We combine our data with other submillimeter/millimeter (sub-mm/mm) surveys of Taurus, ρ Oph, and the TWA to investigate the trends in disk mass and grain growth during the cTT phase. Assuming a gas-to-dust mass ratio of 100:1 and fiducial surface density and temperature profiles guided by current data, we find the following. (1) The minimum disk outer radius required to explain the upper envelope of sub-mm/mm fluxes is ~100 AU for intermediate-mass stars, solar types, and VLMS, and ~20 AU for BDs. (2) While the upper envelope of apparent disk masses increases with M* from BDs to VLMS to solar-type stars, no such increase is observed from solar-type to intermediate-mass stars. We propose this is due to enhanced photoevaporation around intermediate stellar masses. (3) Many of the disks around Taurus and ρ Oph intermediate-mass and solar-type stars evince an opacity index of β ~ 0-1, indicating significant grain growth. Of the only four VLMS/BDs in these regions with multi-wavelength measurements, three are consistent with considerable grain growth, though optically thick disks are not ruled out. (4) For the TWA VLMS (TWA 30A and B), combining our 850 μm fluxes with the known accretion rates and ages suggests substantial grain growth by 10 Myr, comparable to that in the previously studied TWA cTTs Hen 3-600A and TW Hya. The degree of grain growth in the TWA BDs (2M1207A and SSPM1102) remains largely unknown. (5) A Bayesian analysis shows that the apparent disk-to-stellar mass ratio has a roughly constant mean of log10[Mdisc/M* ] ≈ –2.4 all the way from intermediate-mass stars to VLMS/BDs, supporting previous qualitative suggestions that the ratio is ~1% throughout the stellar/BD domain. (6) Similar analysis shows that the disk mass in close solar-type Taurus binaries (sep <100 AU) is significantly lower than in singles (by a factor of 10), while that in wide solar-type Taurus binaries (≥100 AU) is closer to that in singles (lower by a factor of three). (7) We discuss the implications of these results for planet formation around VLMS/BDs, and for the observed dependence of accretion rate on stellar mass.

Original languageEnglish
Article number168
Number of pages33
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
Early online date6 Aug 2013
Publication statusPublished - 20 Aug 2013


  • Brown dwarfs
  • Protoplanetary disks
  • Stars: formation
  • Stars: pre-main sequence
  • Stars: variables: T Tauri
  • Herbig Ae/Be
  • Submillimeter: stars


Dive into the research topics of 'Protoplanetary disk masses from stars to brown dwarfs'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this