PhD Defense by Philipp Weber

Planets are believed to form in an environment called a protoplanetary disk (PPD), a structure of gas and dust rotating around protostars. In this early epoch, not only does this vicinity influence the planets’composition and accretion processes, a planet or planetary core itself has a potential impact on changing and shaping the surrounding material.

Even though the gas considerably dominates the total mass of the disk, the comparably small amount of dust can play a crucial role. First, most planet-forming processes depend on the dynamics of the dust. On top of this, when investigating PPDs, the information we can infer is strongly biased towards the dust content. Like this, the best-resolved observations are obtained from the dust continuum emission and also the study of meteorites only directly exposes the solid content of the early Solar System.

This thesis investigates the impact of planets onto the surrounding dust structure and how these modifications of the PPD can lead to observable or measurable signatures. It employs an interdisciplinary approach, combining theory, cosmochemistry and telescope observations, in order to validate and falsify specific scenarios. [abridged]

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