TERRAPUB Earth, Planets and Space

Earth Planets Space, Vol. 65 (No. 10), pp. 1139-1143, 2013

Far-infrared continuum absorption of olivine at low temperatures

H. Mutschke1, S. Zeidler1, and H. Chihara2

1Astrophysikalisches Institut und Universitäts-Sternwarte, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, Germany
2Division of Earth and Planetary Science, Kyoto University, Japan

(Received December 20, 2012; Revised July 9, 2013; Accepted July 10, 2013; Online published October 24, 2013)

Abstract: The far-infrared continuum opacity of cold dust is an important quantity for the study of debris disks in planetary systems and of protoplanetary disks. Olivine is considered the most abundant crystalline dust species in such environments. We present spectroscopic absorption measurements on olivine plates of the order of a millimeter thickness at wavelengths between 60 and 400 μm for temperatures down to 10 K. Our data reveal a strong temperature dependence of the continuum absorption coefficient, i.e. more than an order of magnitude decrease at 100 μm for 10 K compared to room temperature. The absolute values are generally much lower than those measured with olivine powders embedded into polyethylene pellets, even if the difference between plate and powder samples is taken into account by theoretical models. In contrast to this, the room temperature data are in relatively good agreement with simulations using optical constants determined from reflection measurements. At low temperatures, the absorption coefficient of olivine was measurable with sufficient accuracy only up to 90 μm for 10 K and up to 110 μm for 100 K. These data reveal a drastic change in the spectral slope (from β ∼ 2.0 to β > 5.0) for the continuum underlying the 69-μm band, which is not predicted by the low-temperature optical constants determined for forsterite.
Key words: Far-infrared absorption, olivine.

Corresponding author E-mail: harald.mutschke@uni-jena.de

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