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The Structure, Origin, and Evolution of Interstellar Hydrocarbon Grains

By J. Chiar, A.G.G.M. Tielens, A. Adamson and A. Ricca


Many materials have been considered for the carrier of the hydrocarbon absorption bands observed in the diffuse interstellar medium (ISM). In order to refine the model for ISM hydrocarbon grains, we analyze the observed aromatic (3.28, 6.2 {$μ$}m) and aliphatic (3.4 {$μ$}m) hydrocarbon absorption features in the diffuse ISM along the line of sight toward the Galactic center Quintuplet Cluster. Observationally, sp $^{2}$ bonds can be measured in astronomical spectra using the 6.2 {$μ$}m CC aromatic stretch feature, whereas the 3.4 {$μ$}m aliphatic feature can be used to quantify the fraction of sp $^{3}$ bonds. The fractional abundance of these components allows us to place the Galactic diffuse ISM hydrocarbons on a ternary phase diagram. We conclude that the Galactic hydrocarbon dust has, on average, a low H/C ratio and sp $^{3}$ content and is highly aromatic. We have placed the results of our analysis within the context of the evolution of carbon dust in the ISM. We argue that interstellar carbon dust consists of a large core of aromatic carbon surrounded by a thin mantle of hydrogenated amorphous carbon (a-C:H), a structure that is a natural consequence of the processing of stardust grains in the ISM

Year: 2013
DOI identifier: 10.1088/0004-637x/770/1/78
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Provided by: NARCIS
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