Photoevaporation and Viscous Evolution in Protoplanetary Disks

Grant #: NNX09AO42G
Senior Scientist: Uma Gorti

This study covers the detailed dynamical and mass evolution of a protoplanetary disk as it is being photoevaporated by stellar high energy ultraviolet and X-ray photons and is being simultaneously viscously accreted onto the central star.  We use detailed disk thermochemical models that are needed to estimate parameters such as gas density and temperature distribution that are critical to obtaining accurate photoevaporative mass loss rates.  We couple these models to a detailed 2D hydrodynamical code to study the mass loss flows and dynamics from the disk in detail. These studies elucidate the complete evolution of the mass and surface density distribution of the disk -- from the young, optically thick and actively accreting phase to a debris disk phase, largely devoid of gas and small dust particles.