The goal of this ERC proposal is to make significant progress in our understanding
how planetary systems form in protoplanetary discs. In this ambitious research programme I will answer
these three key questions:
How does the dust size distribution affect the evolution of ice lines and initial formation location of planetesimals?
How do growing planets migrate in protoplanetary discs?
How does the disc evolution affect the formation and composition of planetary systems?
I will tackle these questions using a combination of novel ideas and computer simulations in which I
will model the three before mentioned connected key stages of planet formation. The disc evolution
model will incorporate grain growth and drift with self-consistent temperature structure calculations. The planet migration simulations will map the migration rates from small planets all
the way to giant gap opening planets in these discs. Finally, I will combine these topics and compute the
assembly of whole planetary systems from multiple small bodies in gas discs to full grown solar systems.
Additionally, I will track the chemical composition and evolution of the growing bodies.
These self-consistent models of the formation process from planetary embryos all the way to full planetary
systems will be the first of their kind and will shed light on the origin of the variety of planetary
systems featuring terrestrial planets, super-Earths, ice and/or gas giants. By incorporating the chemical
composition of planets during their formation into my model, I can not only compare the orbital elements
to observations, but also their compositions, where observations of the atmospheres of hot Jupiters already
exist and future observations of super-Earths will reveal their atmospheric and bulk composition
(e.g. through the PLATO space mission), further constraining planet formation theories.
Call for proposal
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Funding SchemeERC-STG - Starting Grant