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Laminar Accretion in the Habitable Zone of Protoplanetary Disks

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 April 2014

Xue-Ning Bai
Affiliation:
Department of Astrophysical Sciences, Peyton Hall, Princeton, NJ 08540, USA
James M. Stone
Affiliation:
Department of Astrophysical Sciences, Peyton Hall, Princeton, NJ 08540, USA
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Abstract

Protoplanetary disks (PPDs) are widely believed to be turbulent as a result of the magnetorotational instability (MRI). We perform magnetohydrodynamical simulations of PPDs that for the first time, take into account both Ohmic resistivity and ambipolar diffusion in a self-consistent manner. We show that in the inner region of PPDs that corresponds the habitable zone, the MRI is completely suppressed due to the interplay between magnetic field and ambipolar diffusion. The gas in this region is laminar throughout the entire vertical extent of the disk. Instead of MRI-driven accretion, a strong magnetocentrifugal wind is launched that efficiently carries away disk angular momentum. A physical wind geometry requires the presence of a strong current layer that is offset from the disk midplane where horizontal magnetic fields flip. We show that the entire accretion flow proceeds through this strong current layer. The non-turbulent nature of the gas flow strongly favors the habitable zone as the site for planetesimal formation, and has important implications for their subsequent growth into terrestrial planets.

Type
Contributed Papers
Copyright
Copyright © International Astronomical Union 2014 

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