Volume 540, April 2012
|Number of page(s)||19|
|Section||Interstellar and circumstellar matter|
|Published online||13 March 2012|
Variations on a theme – the evolution of hydrocarbon solids⋆
I. Compositional and spectral modelling – the eRCN and DG models
1 Institut d’Astrophysique Spatiale, CNRS, IAS UMR8617, 91405 Orsay, France
2 Université Paris Sud, IAS UMR 8617, 91405 Orsay, France
Received: 4 July 2011
Accepted: 30 October 2011
Context. The compositional properties of hydrogenated amorphous carbons are known to evolve in response to the local conditions.
Aims. We present a model for low-temperature, amorphous hydrocarbon solids, based on the microphysical properties of random and defected networks of carbon and hydrogen atoms, that can be used to study and predict the evolution of their properties in the interstellar medium.
Methods. We adopt an adaptable and prescriptive approach to model these materials, which is based on a random covalent network (RCN) model, extended here to a full compositional derivation (the eRCN model), and a defective graphite (DG) model for the hydrogen poorer materials where the eRCN model is no longer valid.
Results. We provide simple expressions that enable the determination of the structural, infrared and spectral properties of amorphous hydrocarbon grains as a function of the hydrogen atomic fraction, XH. Structural annealing, resulting from hydrogen atom loss, results in a transition from H-rich, aliphatic-rich to H-poor, aromatic-rich materials.
Conclusions. The model predicts changes in the optical properties of hydrogenated amorphous carbon dust in response to the likely UV photon-driven and/or thermal annealing processes resulting, principally, from the radiation field in the environment. We show how this dust component will evolve, compositionally and structurally in the interstellar medium in response to the local conditions.
Key words: dust, extinction / ISM: general
Appendices A and B are available in electronic form at http://www.aanda.org
© ESO, 2012
Current usage metrics show cumulative count of Article Views (full-text article views including HTML views, PDF and ePub downloads, according to the available data) and Abstracts Views on Vision4Press platform.
Data correspond to usage on the plateform after 2015. The current usage metrics is available 48-96 hours after online publication and is updated daily on week days.
Initial download of the metrics may take a while.