EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 490, Number 2, November I 2008
Page(s) 665 - 672
Section Interstellar and circumstellar matter
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:200809927
Published online 11 September 2008

A&A 490, 665-672 (2008)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:200809927

The 6.2 $\sf\mu{\rm m}$ band position in laboratory and astrophysical spectra: a tracer of the aliphatic to aromatic evolution of interstellar carbonaceous dust

T. Pino1, E. Dartois2, A.-T. Cao1, Y. Carpentier1, Th. Chamaillé1, R. Vasquez1, A. P. Jones2, L. d'Hendecourt2, and Ph. Bréchignac1

1  Laboratoire de Photophysique Moléculaire (Laboratoire associé à l'Université Paris XI, et à la Fédération de recherche Lumière Matière.) , CNRS, UPR-3361, bâtiment 210, Université Paris-Sud, 91405 Orsay Cedex, France
    e-mail: thomas.pino@u-psud.fr
2  Institut d'Astrophysique Spatiale, CNRS, UMR-8617, Université Paris-Sud, bâtiment 121, 91405 Orsay Cedex, France

Received 8 April 2008 / Accepted 24 July 2008

Context. The infrared emission features observed in the mid-infrared wavelength range in astronomical objects, often called the Aromatic Infrared Bands, exhibit differences in shape and position. Three astrophysical spectral classes have been proposed based on the spectral characteristics. The band positions in most sources are similar to those of aromatic materials, however, the exact nature of the emitters is still unknown.
Aims. The spectral diversity of the bands provides a clue to the nature of the materials. An evolutionary scenario for the nature of the emitters can be inferred by comparison with laboratory analogues.
Methods. The laboratory spectra of a wide range of soot material samples were recorded and a global analysis of the infrared absorption spectra performed. This spectral analysis, allied to the band shape and position variations, were then used to interpret the diversity and evolution of the features in the astronomical spectra.
Results. We find correlations between the spectral regions characteristic of the CC and CH modes and use these to shed light on the origin of the infrared emission features. In particular, the observed shift in the position of the 6.2–6.3 $\mu$m band is shown to be a key tracer of the evolution of the aliphatic to aromatic component of carbonaceous dust.

Key words: astrochemistry -- ISM: dust, extinction -- ISM: general -- infrared: ISM -- stars: AGB and post-AGB

© ESO 2008