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On the onset of dust formation in AGB stars

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 December 2019

David Gobrecht
Institute of Astronomy, KU Leuven, B-3001, Leuven, Belgium email:
Stefan T. Bromley
Departament de Ciència de Materials i Química Física & Institut de Química Téorica i Computacional (IQTCUB), Universitat de Barcelona, E-08028 Barcelona, Spain Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats (ICREA), E-08010 Barcelona, Spain
John M. C. Plane
School of Chemistry, Leeds University, Box 515, GB-75120 Leeds, Great Britain
Leen Decin
Institute of Astronomy, KU Leuven, B-3001, Leuven, Belgium email:
Sergio Cristallo
INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico dAbruzzo, Via mentore maggini, I-64100 Teramo, Italy INFN - Sezione di Perugia, via A. Pascoli, I-06123, Perugia, Italy
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A promising candidate to initiate dust formation in oxygen-rich AGB stars is alumina (Al2O3) showing an emission feature around ∼13μm attributed to Al−O stretching and bending modes (Posch+99,Sloan+03). The counterpart to alumina in carbon-rich AGB atmospheres is the highly refractory silicon carbide (SiC) showing a characteristic feature around 11.3μm (Treffers74). Alumina and SiC grains are thought to represent the first condensates to emerge in AGB stellar atmospheres. We follow a bottom-up approach, starting with the smallest stoichiometric clusters (i.e. Al4O6, Si2C2), successively building up larger-sized clusters. We present new results of quantum-mechanical structure calculations of (Al2O3)n, n = 1−10 and (SiC)n clusters with n = 1−16, including potential energies, rotational constants, and structure-specific vibrational spectra. We demonstrate the energetic viability of homogeneous nucleation scenarios where monomers (Al2O3 and SiC) or dimers (Al4O6 and Si2C2) are successively added. We find significant differences between our quantum theory based results and nanoparticle properties derived from (classical) nucleation theory.

Contributed Papers
© International Astronomical Union 2019 


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