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The destruction and growth of dust grains in interstellar space – I. Destruction by sputtering

BARLOW, MJ; (1978) The destruction and growth of dust grains in interstellar space – I. Destruction by sputtering. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society , 183 (2) pp. 367-395. 10.1093/mnras/183.3.367. Green open access

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Abstract

The processes governing the destruction and growth of dust grains in interstellar space are investigated with a view to establishing the conditions required for the existence of ice mantles. In this paper sputtering by particles with energies in the eV to GeV range is considered. Previous sputtering yield estimates which were based on theoretical considerations are shown to be greatly in error for incident particle energies less than 1 keV. Empirical formulae for the sputtering threshold energy and the sputtering yield are derived from the extensive experimental data available. The sputtering of grains in H II regions, in the inter-cloud medium, and in shock waves produced by cloud–cloud collisions and by supernova remnants is investigated. Of these, supernova remnants are shown to be the most important, leading to lifetimes ∼ 2 × 108 yr for ice grains and between 5–20 × 108 yr for refractory grains. Destruction rates are estimated for grains bombarded by MeV and GeV cosmic rays. It is shown that collision cascade sputtering dominates evaporative sputtering produced by thermal spikes. It is also shown that even if all the electron excitation energy loss in a grain material could be transferred to the lattice particles, the observed cosmic ray flux spectrum could not cause significant destruction of ice grains.

Type: Article
Title: The destruction and growth of dust grains in interstellar space – I. Destruction by sputtering
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1093/mnras/183.3.367
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1093/mnras/183.3.367
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the version of record. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Science & Technology, Physical Sciences, Astronomy & Astrophysics
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Physics and Astronomy
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10096229
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