Scientific Interests

A disk of material (gas and dust) surrounds the majority of young sun-like stars. Planetary systems are build from the material found in these disks, and to understand how planets form astronomers study protoplanetary disks. In particular, I am interested in one of the earliest stages of planet formation: the growth of very small dust particles into larger grains. I am also quite interested in several aspects of radio-interferometry, which is the observing technique I employ to study these disks. Here is a brief outline of my main scientific interests:

  1. Protoplanetary disks: characterization of the dynamics and structure of disks, employing multi-wavelength observations in the radio-wave regime. Continuum emission observations at long-wavelengths probe the dust population down to the disk mid-plane, while line emission observations trace the gas component, probing different optical depths.

  2. Planet Formation: investigating the growth of sub-micron sized dust particles into cm-sized pebbles, a process that occurs inside protoplanetary disks. To study this phase, I am making use of resolved imaging at radio wavelengths. Interestingly, we can study this process by constraining the disk structure at a single wavelength or by employing multi-wavelength observations and constraining dust opacity variations (see Ongoing Projects).

  3. Radio-Interferometry: high-frequency spatially-resolved imaging, calibration techniques, and telescope commissioning.

Other interests: crafts, cooking, cultivating zen-like habits, and lately I’ve taken up running. Also I enjoy participating in Astronomy Outreach activities (especially with little kids!).