3D Interstellar Chemo-physical Evolution
Start date: Sep 1, 2013,
End date: Aug 31, 2018
"At the end of their life, stars spread their inner material into the diffuse interstellar medium. This diffuse medium gets locally denser and form dark clouds (also called dense or molecular clouds) whose innermost part is shielded from the external UV field by the dust, allowing for molecules to grow and get more complex. Gravitational collapse occurs inside these dense clouds, forming protostars and their surrounding disks, and eventually planetary systems like (or unlike) our solar system. The formation and evolution of molecules, minerals, ices and organics from the diffuse medium to planetary bodies, their alteration or preservation throughout this cosmic chemical history set the initial conditions for building planets, atmospheres and possibly the first bricks of life. The current view of interstellar chemistry is based on fragmental works on key steps of the sequence that are observed. The objective of this proposal is to follow the fractionation of the elements between the gas-phase and the interstellar grains, from the most diffuse medium to protoplanetary disks, in order to constrain the chemical composition of the material in which planets are formed. The potential outcome of this project is to get a consistent and more accurate description of the chemical evolution of interstellar matter. To achieve this objective, I will improve our chemical model by adding new processes on grain surfaces relevant under the diffuse medium conditions. This upgraded gas-grain model will be coupled to 3D dynamical models of the formation of dense clouds from diffuse medium and of protoplanetary disks from dense clouds. The computed chemical composition will also be used with 3D radiative transfer codes to study the chemical tracers of the physics of protoplanetary disk formation. The robustness of the model predictions will be studied with sensitivity analyses. Finally, model results will be confronted to observations to address some of the current challenges."
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