The infrared emission spectra of compositionally inhomogeneous aggregates composed of irregularly shaped constituents
Astronomical institute Anton Pannekoek, University of Amsterdam, Kruislaan 403, 1098 SJ Amsterdam, The Netherlands e-mail: email@example.com
2 Instituut voor Sterrenkunde, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Celestijnenlaan 200B, 3001 Heverlee, Belgium
Accepted: 24 June 2008
Aims. In order to deduce properties of dust in astrophysical environments where dust growth through aggregation is high, knowledge of the way aggregated particles interact with radiation, and what information is encoded in the thermal radiation they emit, is needed. The emission characteristics are determined by the size and structure of the aggregate and the composition and shape of their constituents. We thus aim at performing computations of compositionally inhomogeneous aggregates composed of irregularly shaped constituents. In addition we aim at developing an empirical recipe to compute the optical properties of such aggregates in a fast and accurate manner.
Methods. We performed CDA computations for aggregates of irregularly shaped particles with various compositions. The constituents of the aggregate are assumed to be in the Rayleigh regime (i.e. they are much smaller than the wavelength of radiation inside and outside the constituents), and in addition we assume that the dominant interaction of the aggregate constituents is through dipole-dipole interactions. We computed the spectral structure of the emission efficiency in the 10 μm region for aggregates with 30% amorphous carbon and 70% silicates by volume with various fractions of crystalline and amorphous components.
Results. We find that the spectral appearance of the various components of the aggregate are very different and depend on their abundances. Most notably, materials that have a very low abundance appear spectroscopically as if they were in very small grains, while more abundant materials appear spectroscopically to reside in larger grains. We construct a fast empirical approximate method, based on the idea of an effective medium approximation, to construct the spectra for these aggregates which almost perfectly reproduces the more exact computations. This new method is fast enough to be easily implemented in fitting procedures trying to deduce the dust characteristics from astronomical observations.
Key words: infrared: general / technique: spectroscopic / dust, extinction / circumstellar matter
© ESO, 2008