Dr. Blake and his team study the chemistry and physics of the innermost regions (0.5-50 AU) of very young circumstellar disks. The project uses of ground-based (Keck-NIRSPEC, VLT-CRIRES, Gemini-MICHELLE) spectroscopy and spectro-astrometry of accretion disks. The rovibrational line emissions of the molecules CO, HCN, C2H2, H2O, OH, and other molecules are used to constrain the physical and chemical structure and evolution of the protoplanetary disks' inner regions. These observations are interpreted with 2D (axisymetric) and 3D radiative transfer models. In order to derive accurate molecular abundances, the group will extend their radiative transfer codes to generate non-local thermodynamic equilibrium level populations relevant for IR transitions. Further studies are planned for the outer disks using far IR and submm lines from Herschel and potentially ALMA. The project provides training for a PhD student and postdoc.

Agency
National Science Foundation (NSF)
Institute
Division of Astronomical Sciences (AST)
Application #
1109857
Program Officer
Nigel Sharp
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
2011-09-01
Budget End
2014-08-31
Support Year
Fiscal Year
2011
Total Cost
$437,837
Indirect Cost
Name
California Institute of Technology
Department
Type
DUNS #
City
Pasadena
State
CA
Country
United States
Zip Code
91125