Formation of super-Earths
Super-Earths have emerged as the most common planetary population in the galaxy and yet there is no analogue in our own solar system. Understanding the formation of these planets is therefore key to making a headway in planet formation theory. An especially interesting sub-class of planets are low-mass low-density super-Earths. These planets are hypothesised to have a rocky core with a hydrogen-helium envelope. Their formation pathway is therefore different from that of the Earth in many important ways. I study the ways in which super-Earths are different from Earth analogues.
Having large primordial atmospheres on top of rocky cores close-in to the star entails a high temperature and pressure at the core-envelope boundary. This leads to the formation of a magma ocean which dissolved the hydrogen in its interior. Having a internal reservoir of hydrogen plays an important role in the thermal and mass evolution of these planets, affecting the radius gap observed in the Kepler sample in predictable ways. These results are presented in a paper: arXiv:1802.04296