The role of multiplicity in protoplanetary disk evolution

Adam L. Kraus, Michael J. Ireland

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Interactions with close stellar or planetary companions can significantly influence the evolution and lifetime of protoplanetary disks. It has recently become possible to search for these companions, directly studying the role of multiplicity in protoplanetary disk evolution. We have described an ongoing survey to directly detect these stellar and planetary companions in nearby star-forming regions. Our program uses adaptive optics and sparse aperture mask interferometry to achieve typical contrast limits of Δ K=5-6 at the diffraction limit (5–8 MJup at 5–30 AU), while also detecting similar-flux binary companions at separations as low as 15 mas (2.5 AU). In most cases, our survey has found no evidence of companions (planetary or binary) among the well-known “transitional disk” systems; if the inner clearings are due to planet formation, as has been previously suggested, then this paucity places an upper limit on the mass of any resulting planet. Our survey also has uncovered many new binary systems, with the majority falling among the diskless (WTTS) population. This disparity suggests that disk evolution for close (5–30 AU) binary systems is very different from that for single stars. As we show in Figure 1, most circumbinary disks are cleared by ages of 1–2 Myr, while most circumstellar disks are not. These diskless binary systems have biased the disk frequency downward in previous studies. If we remove our new systems from those samples, we find that the disk fraction for single stars could be higher than was previously suggested.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHighlights of astronomy
Subtitle of host publicationVol 15
EditorsIan F Corbett
Place of PublicationCambridge, UK
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages1
ISBN (Print)9781107005334
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes
Event27th IAU General Assembly - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Duration: 3 Aug 200914 Aug 2009

Publication series

NameIAU Symposium Proceedings Series
ISSN (Print)1743-9213


Conference27th IAU General Assembly
CityRio de Janeiro

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