Different Degrees Of Nitrogen And Carbon Depletion In The Warm Molecular Layers Of Protoplanetary Disks

By Keith Cowing
Status Report
September 15, 2022
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Different Degrees Of Nitrogen And Carbon Depletion In The Warm Molecular Layers Of Protoplanetary Disks
Abundances of CO2, CO, H2O, and N2 ices on 8 dust populations at R = 80 au at 1 Myr i

Observations have revealed that the elemental abundances of carbon and oxygen in the warm molecular layers of some protoplanetary disks are depleted compared to those is the interstellar medium by a factor of ~10-100.

Meanwhile, little is known about nitrogen. To investigate the time evolution of nitrogen, carbon, and oxygen elemental abundances in disks, we develop a one-dimensional model that incorporates dust settling, turbulent diffusion of dust and ices, as well as gas-ice chemistry including the chemistry driven by stellar UV/X-rays and the galactic cosmic rays.

We find that gaseous CO in the warm molecular layer is converted to CO2 ice and locked up near the midplane via the combination of turbulent mixing (i.e., the vertical cold finger effect) and ice chemistry driven by stellar UV photons. On the other hand, gaseous N2, the main nitrogen reservoir in the warm molecular layer, is less processed by ice chemistry, and exists as it is. Then the nitrogen depletion occurs solely by the vertical cold finger effect of N2.

As the binding energy of N2 is lower than that of CO and CO2, the degree of nitrogen depletion is smaller than that of carbon and oxygen depletion, leading to higher elemental abundance of nitrogen than that of carbon and oxygen. This evolution occurs within 1 Myr and proceeds further, when the α parameter for the diffusion coefficient is ~0.001. Consequently, the N2H+/CO column density ratio increases with time. How the vertical transport affects the midplane ice composition is briefly discussed.

Kenji Furuya, Lee Sokho, Hideko Nomura

Comments: 22 pages, 15 figures, accepted by ApJ
Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP); Solar and Stellar Astrophysics (astro-ph.SR)
Cite as: arXiv:2209.07197 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:2209.07197v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
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Submission history
From: Kenji Furuya
[v1] Thu, 15 Sep 2022 10:16:52 UTC (451 KB)
Astrobiology, Astrochemistry,

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻