Crystalline silicates as a probe of disk formation history

C. P. Dullemond, D. Apai, S. Walch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


We present a new perspective on the crystallinity of dust in protoplanetary disks. The dominant crystallization by thermal annealing happens in the very early phases of disk formation and evolution. Both the disk properties and the level of crystallinity are thereby directly linked to the properties of the molecular cloud core from which the star+disk system was formed. We show that under the assumption of single-star formation, rapidly rotating clouds produce disks that after the main infall phase (i.e., in the optically revealed class II phase) are rather massive and have a high accretion rate but low crystallinity. Slowly rotating clouds, on the other hand, produce less massive disks with lower accretion rates but high levels of crystallinity. Cloud fragmentation and the formation of multiple stars complicates the problem and necessitates further study. The underlying physics of the model is insufficiently understood to provide the precise relationship between crystallinity, disk mass, and accretion rate. But the fact that with "standard" input physics the model produces disks that, in comparison to observations, appear to have either too high levels of crystallinity or too high disk masses demonstrates that the comparison of these models to observations can place strong constraints on the disk physics. The question to ask is not why some sources are so crystalline, but why some other sources have such a low level of crystallinity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L67-L70
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 II
StatePublished - Mar 20 2006


  • Accretion, accretion disks
  • Dust, extinction
  • Planetary systems: formation
  • Planetary systems: protoplanetary disks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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