PI: Klaus Pontoppidan, Space Telescope Science Institute, email@example.com
Address: -, 3700 San Martin Drive, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA
CoI: Colette Salyk, NOAO
CoI: Geoff Blake, California Institute of Technology
CoI: Andrea Banzatti, Space Telescope Science Institute
CoI: Sandra Blevins, Space Telescope Science Institute
CoI: John Lacy, University of Texas at Austin
CoI: Matt Richter, University of California Davis
Title: Where is the nitrogen in inner protoplanetary disks?
Abstract: The dominant reservoirs of nitrogen in protoplanetary disks have not yet been identified. Likely candidates are HCN, NH_3 (ammonia) and N_2. The relative abundances of these carriers determine the composition of planetesimals as a function of disk radius due to strong differences in their volatility. A significant sequestration of nitrogen in carriers less volatile than N_2 is likely required to deliver even small amounts of nitrogen to the Earth and potentially habitable exo-planets. HCN has already been detected in small amounts, but so far only relatively insensitive upper limits on inner disk NH_3 have been obtained. We propose to leverage the high spectral resolution at 10 (micron) of TEXES to either detect NH_3, or improve current upper limits by a factor 10-20, in a sample of protoplanetary disks around young stars with a wide range of spectral types. Further, we will determine the temperature and location of any NH_3-containing gas.
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