Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc., 479, 4336-4344 (2018/October-0)
Aliphatic hydrocarbon content of interstellar dust.
GUNAY B., SCHMIDT T.W., BURTON M.G., AFSAR M., KRECHKIVSKA O., NAUTA K., KABLE S.H. and RAWAL A.
Abstract (from CDS):
There is considerable uncertainty as to the amount of carbon incorporated in interstellar dust. The aliphatic component of the carbonaceous dust is of particular interest because it produces a significant 3.4 µm absorption feature when viewed against a background radiation source. The optical depth of the 3.4 µm absorption feature is related to the number of aliphatic carbon C-H bonds along the line of sight. It is possible to estimate the column density of carbon locked up in the aliphatic hydrocarbon component of interstellar dust from quantitative analysis of the 3.4 µm interstellar absorption feature provided that the absorption coefficient of aliphatic hydrocarbons incorporated in the interstellar dust is known. We report laboratory analogues of interstellar dust by experimentally mimicking interstellar/circumstellar conditions. The resultant spectra of these dust analogues closely match those from astronomical observations. Measurements of the absorption coefficient of aliphatic hydrocarbons incorporated in the analogues were carried out by a procedure combining FTIR and 13C NMR spectroscopies. The absorption coefficients obtained for both interstellar analogues were found to be in close agreement [4.76(8) x 10–18 cm group–1 and 4.69(14) x 10–18 cm group–1], less than half those obtained in studies using small aliphatic molecules. The results thus obtained permit direct calibration of the astronomical observations, providing rigorous estimates of the amount of aliphatic carbon in the interstellar medium.