Symposium to Celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the PAH Hypothesis Toulouse, FRANCE, MAY 31-JUN 04, 2010
I give an overview of the recent scientific results based on observations of PAH emission from circumstellar disks around young stars. The stellar radiation field plays a key role in the excitation and destruction of the PAH molecules in the disk. The detection rate of PAH emission in disks is optimal for stars of spectral type A. Around stars of similar temperature, the disk structure determines the PAH emission strength: disks with a flared geometry produce stronger PAH emission than flattened disks. The spectral properties of the emission features, indicative of the chemistry of the emitting hydrocarbons, is closely linked to the central star radiation field. The main PAH features shift to redder wavelengths with decreasing stellar effective temperature. This trend has been interpreted as an indication for a higher aliphatic/aromatic ratio of the hydrocarbon mixture around cool stars with respect to hot stars. An alternative explanation may be a more significant contribution to the infrared emission of very small grains around cooler stars.