CO2 infrared emission as a diagnostic of planet-forming regions of disks
1 Leiden Observatory, Leiden University, PO Box 9513, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands
2 Max-Planck-Insitut für Extraterrestrische Physik, Gießenbachstrasse 1, 85748 Garching, Germany
Received: 24 October 2016
Accepted: 23 January 2017
Context. The infrared ro-vibrational emission lines from organic molecules in the inner regions of protoplanetary disks are unique probes of the physical and chemical structure of planet-forming regions and the processes that shape them. These observed lines are mostly interpreted with local thermal equilibrium (LTE) slab models at a single temperature.
Aims. We aim to study the non-LTE excitation effects of carbon dioxide (CO2) in a full disk model to evaluate: (i) what the emitting regions of the different CO2 ro-vibrational bands are; (ii) how the CO2 abundance can be best traced using CO2 ro-vibrational lines using future JWST data and; (iii) what the excitation and abundances tell us about the inner disk physics and chemistry. CO2 is a major ice component and its abundance can potentially test models with migrating icy pebbles across the iceline.
Methods. A full non-LTE CO2 excitation model has been built starting from experimental and theoretical molecular data. The characteristics of the model are tested using non-LTE slab models. Subsequently the CO2 line formation was modelled using a two-dimensional disk model representative of T Tauri disks where CO2 is detected in the mid-infrared by the Spitzer Space Telescope.
Results. The CO2 gas that emits in the 15 μm and 4.5 μm regions of the spectrum is not in LTE and arises in the upper layers of disks, pumped by infrared radiation. The v2 15 μm feature is dominated by optically thick emission for most of the models that fit the observations and increases linearly with source luminosity. Its narrowness compared with that of other molecules stems from a combination of the low rotational excitation temperature (~ 250 K) and the inherently narrower feature for CO2. The inferred CO2 abundances derived for observed disks range from 3 × 10-9 to 1 × 10-7 with respect to total gas density for typical gas/dust ratios of 1000, similar to earlier LTE disk estimates. Line-to-continuum ratios are low, in the order of a few percent, stressing the need for high signal-to-noise (S/N > 300) observations for individual line detections.
Conclusions. The inferred CO2 abundances are much lower than those found in interstellar ices (~ 10-5), indicating a reset of the chemistry by high temperature reactions in the inner disk. JWST-MIRI with its higher spectral resolving power will allow a much more accurate retrieval of abundances from individual P- and R-branch lines, together with the 13CO2Q-branch at 15 μm. The 13CO2Q-branch is particularly sensitive to possible enhancements of CO2 due to sublimation of migrating icy pebbles at the iceline(s). Prospects for JWST-NIRSpec are discussed as well.
Key words: protoplanetary disks / molecular processes / astrochemistry / radiative transfer / line: formation
© ESO, 2017