Alumina Polymorphism in the Circumstellar Dust Shells of Asymptotic Giant Branch Stars

Benjamin A. Sargent1,2
Astrophysical Journal Letters 866, L1 Link to Article [DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/aae085]
1Space Telescope Science Institute, 3700 San Martin Drive, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA
2Center for Imaging Science and Laboratory for Multiwavelength Astrophysics, Rochester Institute of Technology, 54 Lomb Memorial Drive, Rochester NY 14623, USA

Many emission features remain unidentified in the infrared spectra of asymptotic giant branch (AGB) stars. In particular, features at ~11, 20, 28, and 32 μm have been noted in mid-infrared spectra of oxygen-rich AGB stars. Here, I present models of dust excess emission in 36 spectra of 24 AGB stars from the Short Wavelength Spectrometer on board the Infrared Space Observatory and the Infrared Spectrograph on the Spitzer Space Telescope. The models include opacities of grains composed of mixtures of various polymorphs of alumina obtained by preparing bayerite and boehmite at high temperatures, and these dust components provide satisfactory fits to the 11, 20, 28, and 32 μm features. Though not a direct conclusion from this study, the presence of grains of the various polymorphs of aluminas in circumstellar dust shells around AGB stars suggests that corundum may have a role in giving rise to the 13 μm feature.

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