PI: Gaspard Duchene, UC Berkeley (Astronomy), firstname.lastname@example.org
Address: Department of Astronomy, 601 Campbell Hall #3411, Berkeley, CA, 94720-3411, USA
CoI: Marshall Perrin, UC Los Angeles
CoI: Caer-Eve McCabe, Caltech IPAC
CoI: Christophe Pinte, University of Exeter
Title: Probing grain growth in protoplanetary disks: scattered light imaging of edge-on disks in the mid-infrared
Abstract: We propose to take advantage of the exquisite sensitivity of MICHELLE on Gemini North to obtain deep mid-infrared scattered light images of two well-known edge-on protoplanetary disks: HK Tau B and HV Tau C. In conjunction with images already available at shorter wavelengths and with sophisticated radiative transfer models, the data requested here will allow us to probe the presence of dust grains larger than 10 microns in these disks and to address the possibility of a generally stratified structure for these disks. This phenomenon, which has been suggested in at least two non-edge-on protoplanetary disks from their overall spectral energy distribution, could result from vertical settling of the largest grains, a critical step in concentrating dust particles in a thin midplane where they could evolve towards formation of protoplanets. The targets of this proposal have been selected to offer a unique opportunity to probe such a phenomenon in more detail as the requested data will 1) spatially resolve the disks, and 2) constrain the mid-infrared dust scattering phase function which is strongly dependent on grain size. One of the two sources has been imaged in the past but at too low a signal-to-noise ratio to allow such a detailed modeling.
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