Two mechanisms for dust gap opening in protoplanetary discs

Giovanni Dipierro*, Guillaume Laibe, Daniel J. Price, Giuseppe Lodato

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


We identify two distinct physical mechanisms for dust gap opening by embedded planets in protoplanetary discs based on the symmetry of the drag-induced motion around the planet: (I) a mechanism where low-mass planets, that do not disturb the gas, open gaps in dust by tidal torques assisted by drag in the inner disc, but resisted by drag in the outer disc and (II) the usual, drag-assisted, mechanism where higher mass planets create pressure maxima in the gas disc, which the drag torque then acts to evacuate further in the dust. The first mechanism produces gaps in dust but not gas, while the second produces partial or total gas gaps which are deeper in the dust phase. Dust gaps do not necessarily indicate gas gaps.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L1-L5
Number of pages5
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters
Issue number1
Early online date1 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jun 2016


  • Planet-disc interactions
  • Protoplanetary discs
  • Dust, extinction
  • Submillimetre: planetary systems


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