Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences Colloquium

Monday, September 13, 2021 at 12:40

JILA Auditorium and

Jenny Bergner, University of Chicago

"Volatile Chemistry in Planet-forming Disks"

A Pretty Image from the Talk


The viability of prebiotic chemistry on a nascent planet is dependent on the inventory of volatiles incorporated during the planet's formation, particularly carriers of the elements CHNOPS. This raises the questions: how did Earth obtain its prebiotic precursors, and how commonly do other planets inherit the ingredients for prebiotic chemistry? By studying the volatile chemistry at play in the evolutionary progenitors of planetary systems (protostars and protoplanetary disks), we gain valuable insight into these questions. In this talk I will share recent progress in characterizing the chemistry of volatile species in planet-forming disks using ALMA, which reveals how the changing physical environment alters the chemistry over the disk lifetime. Our complementary simulations and lab experiments of astrophysical ices also allow us to probe the chemistry of the ice phase, which is currently unobservable but represents the dominant volatile reservoir in disks. Taken together, we are assembling a more complete picture of the chemical environment which regulates the formation, composition, and potential habitability of planetesimals and planets.


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