Thesis Topic: Studies of Planet Formation by Imaging and Spectroscopy of Exoplanets and Circumstellar Disks
Thesis Supervisor: Zahed Wahhaj
A number of PhD thesis topics are possible, hopefully involving the direct-imaging exoplanet instrument SPHERE (arriving in 2014).
1. Studies of systems with 5 to 50 Jupiter mass companions to understand planet and brown-dwarf formation mechanisms.
2. Detection and characterization of exoplanet and brown-dwarf atmospheres with SPHERE's IFS (also characterizing the IFS itself).
3. Direct Imaging and modeling debris disk morphology to identify exoplanet signatures.
4. Statistical studies on exoplanet populations (combining Direct Imaging results with the Transit and Radial Velocity planet yield).
5. Statistical studies of circumstellar disk populations to measure dust dispersal rates and their connection to planet formation.
The PhD student can participate in the Direct Imaging Group, through which ESO Faculty and Fellows collaborate on planet formation research.
Several PhD students are jointly advised through this group.