Tracing the Chemical Origins of Exoplanetary Worlds
Ke Zhang - University of Michigan
The compositions of planets are primarily set by the compositions of gas, ice, and dust inside protoplanetary disks. The abundances of carbon, oxygen, and nitrogen elemental carriers are particularly important for atmospheric compositions and ultimately habitability of planets. Constraining how these elemental abundances evolve with time and location in natal disks is key to predict compositions of planetesimals and planets. In the age of ALMA, we can spatially resolve emissions of abundant molecules in nearby disks on the Solar System scales. I will present recent observations on locations of snowlines and chemical structures of main carbon carriers in protoplanetary disks. I will discuss these findings in light of recent numerical simulations of chemical evolution and dust growth/transport processes in disks. The comparison between observations and simulations suggests the physical and chemical processes of planet formation are highly coupled.