EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 373, Number 3, July III 2001
Page(s) 1125 - 1138
Section Physical and chemical processes
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20010657

A&A 373, 1125-1138 (2001)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20010657

Infrared optical properties of spinels

A study of the carrier of the 13, 17 and 32 $\mu$m emission features observed in ISO-SWS spectra of oxygen-rich AGB stars
D. Fabian1, Th. Posch2, H. Mutschke1, F. Kerschbaum2 and J. Dorschner1

1  Astrophysikalisches Institut und Universitätssternwarte, Schillergässchen 2-3, 07745 Jena, Germany
2  Institut für Astronomie, Türkenschanzstrasse 17, 1180 Wein, Austria

(Received 16 October 2000 / Accepted 2 May 2001 )

In a previous paper, we have proposed magnesium aluminium spinel to be the carrier of the 13 and 17 $\mu$m band features observed in the ISO spectra of some red giants. The IR optical properties of spinel strongly depend on its chemistry and its internal structure. To study the dependence of spinel's IR-spectra on its aluminium content, we have synthesized a number of crystals with different Al/Mg-ratios. Additionally, we performed an annealing experiment to investigate the phase transition between ordered and partially disordered spinel taking place at about 1200 K. We derived sets of optical constants of our natural, annealed and synthetic spinels in order to calculate the absorption efficiencies of small (sub-$\mu$m-sized) spherical particles. Thereby, it turned out that natural as well as near-stoichiometric synthetic spinel can indeed be considered as a suitable candidate for the carrier of the 13 $\mu$m feature observed in the spectra of some oxygen rich circumstellar shells. To illustrate this, we reinvestigated the mean profile of the residual dust emission in the 12-18 $\mu$m wavelength range (i.e., in the so-called trough region between the two silicate bands). The reality of the emission feature at 16.8 $\mu$m is confirmed by our new investigation. We demonstrated that it is not an instrumental artifact since it is not present in ISO spectra of K-stars. In the course of our laboratory work, we found a third prominent emissivity maximum of spinel at 32 $\mu$m. This feature could also be detected in the spectra of the brightest 13 $\mu$m band emission sources; we derived its mean band profile, too. The new sets of optical constants here presented have been made available for public access in the electronic database http://www.astro.uni-jena.de.

Key words: stars: variables: other -- stars: AGB -- stars: circumstellar matter -- stars: mass-loss -- infrared: stars

Offprint request: D. Fabian, fabian@astro.uni-jena.de

SIMBAD Objects

© ESO 2001