Forsterite amorphisation by ion irradiation: Monitoring by infrared spectroscopy
INAF Osservatorio Astronomico di Capodimonte, via Moiariello 16, 80131 Napoli, Italy e-mail: email@example.com
2 INAF Osservatorio Astrofisico di Catania, via S.Sofia 78, 95123 Catania, Italy e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Corresponding author: J. R. Brucato, firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 15 September 2003
We present experimental results on the crystal–amorphous transition of forsterite (Mg2SiO4) silicate under ion irradiation. The aim of this work is to study the structural evolution of one of the most abundant crystalline silicates observed in space driven by ion irradiation. To this aim, forsterite films have been synthesised in the laboratory and irradiated with low energy (30–60 keV) ion beams. Structural changes during irradiation with H+, He+, C+, and Ar++ have been observed and monitored by infrared spectroscopy. The fraction of crystalline forsterite converted into the amorphous form is a function of the energy deposited by nuclear collision by ions in the target. Laboratory results indicate that ion irradiation is a mechanism potentially active in space for the amorphisation of silicates. Physical properties obtained in this work can be used to model the evolution of silicate grains during their life cycle from evolved stars, through different interstellar environments and up to being incorporated in Solar System objects.
Key words: methods: laboratory / techniques: spectroscopic / ISM: dust, evolution / ISM: cosmic rays
© ESO, 2004