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Astron. Astrophys. 330, 1080-1090 (1998)


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Spectral features of presolar diamonds in the laboratory
and in carbon star atmospheres

Anja C. Andersen 1, Uffe Gråe Jorgensen 1, Flemming M. Nicolaisen 2, Preben Gråe Sorensen 2 and Kristian Glejbol 3, 4

1 Astronomisk Observatorium, Juliane Maries Vej 30, DK-2100 Copenhagen, Denmark
2 Institute of Chemistry, Universitetsparken 5, DK-2100 Copenhagen, Denmark
3 Physics Institute, Technical University of Denmark, DK-2800 Lyngby, Denmark
4 NKT Research Center A/S, Sognevej 11, DK-2605 Brondby, Denmark

Received 24 July 1997 / Accepted 6 October 1997

Abstract

Laboratory analyses on fine-grained diamond residues from primitive meteorites have shown that nano-diamonds represent the most abundant form of presolar dust preserved in meteoritic samples. The presolar diamonds carry isotopic anomalies which indicate a very complex formation history. Several groups of diamonds may exist with origin in different types of stars. In order to identify the sites of formation observationally, we have extracted presolar diamonds from the Allende meteorite and measured the monochromatic absorption coefficient in a form which is useful for stellar atmosphere calculations. The monochromatic absorption coefficient was measured in the wavelength ranges 400-4000 cm-1 (2.5-25 [FORMULA] m) and 12200-52600 cm-1 (190-820 nm). We have made identical laboratory measurements on CVD diamonds as on the meteoritic diamonds, in order to get a more solid basis for the interpretation of the diamond spectrum. The monochromatic absorption coefficient for the presolar diamonds was incorporated in self-consistent carbon star photospheric models. The main influence of the diamond dust in our photospheric models is a heating of the upper photospheric layers and a reduction of the C2 H2 abundance. Due to the relatively small absorption coefficient of the diamonds compared to other stellar dust grains, their spectral appearance is weak. However, the weak interaction of the diamonds with the radiation field may give them an important role in the dust nucleation process. The gas pressure will stay high and the gas will be much closer to hydrostatic equilibrium during possible diamond nucleation than is normally the case in dust forming stellar regions, and therefore allow ample time for the nucleation process.

Key words: stars: atmospheres – stars: carbon – stars: abundances – infrared: stars

Send offprint requests to: Anja C. Andersen, e-mail: anja@astro.ku.dk

© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1998

Online publication: January 27, 1998
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