Monte Carlo radiative transfer in protoplanetary disks

C. Pinte, F. Ménard, G. Duchêne, P. Bastien

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117 Citations (Scopus)


Aims. We present a new continuum 3D radiative transfer code, MCFOST, based on a Monte-Carlo method. MCFOST can be used to calculate (i) monochromatic images in scattered light and/or thermal emission; (ii) polarisation maps; (iii) interferometric visibilities; (iv) spectral energy distributions; and (v) dust temperature distributions of protoplanetary disks. Methods. Several improvements to the standard Monte Carlo method are implemented in MCFOST to increase efficiency and reduce convergence time, including wavelength distribution adjustments, mean intensity calculations, and an adaptive sampling of the radiation field. The reliability and efficiency of the code are tested against a previously-defined benchmark, using a 2D disk configuration. No significant difference (no more than 10% and usually much less) is found between the temperatures and SEDs calculated by MCFOST and by other codes included in the benchmark. Results. A study of the lowest disk mass detectable by Spitzer, around young stars, is presented and the colours of "representative" parametric disks compared to recent IRAC and MIPS Spitzer colours of solar-like young stars located in nearby star-forming regions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)797-804
Number of pages8
JournalAstronomy & Astrophysics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Methods : numerical
  • Polarization
  • Radiative transfer
  • Scattering
  • Stars: circumstellar matter

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