Volume 625, May 2019
|Number of page(s)||13|
|Section||Atomic, molecular, and nuclear data|
|Published online||13 May 2019|
Far-infrared continuum absorption of forsterite and enstatite at low temperatures
Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Astrophysical Institute and University Observatory, Schillergaesschen 2-3, 07745 Jena, Germany
Accepted: 19 March 2019
Context. The far-infrared continuum opacity of cold dust is an important quantity for the study of debris disks in planetary systems and of protoplanetary disks. Forsterite and enstatite are considered to be the most abundant crystalline dust species in such environments.
Aims. The optical constants of these minerals at wavelengths above 80 μm, which govern the opacity, and their temperature dependence are poorly known. Our aim is to fill in this lack of information with new laboratory data.
Methods. We present spectroscopic transmission measurements on forsterite and enstatite single crystals of up to 10 mm thickness at wavelengths between 45 and 500 μm and for temperatures down to 10 K. We compare our results to literature data originating from powder transmission and from reflection spectroscopy.
Results. The imaginary parts of the refractive indices calculated from the measurements show very strong temperature dependences, which to that extent are not seen in reflection-based data or in powder measurement data. The temperature dependences can be described by a simple theoretical model taking the contributions of single-phonon absorption and phonon difference processes into account. We also observe, for the first time, enstatite absorption bands at 87.5 μm and 116.6 μm wavelengths.
Conclusions. The single-crystal optical constants of forsterite and enstatite predict an extremely small submillimeter opacity of crystalline silicate dust at low temperatures, which would make these particles almost invisible in the thermal radiation of cold dust. Thus, it is important to understand why absorption measurements with mineral powders resulted in much higher opacity values.
Key words: methods: laboratory: solid state / techniques: spectroscopic / opacity / solid state: refractory / circumstellar matter / dust, extinction
© ESO 2019
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