Effects of anisotropy on absorption cross section spectra of medium sized speroidal corundum particles

in: Astronomy & Astrophysics (2021)
Höfer, Sonja; Mutschke, Harald; Mayerhöfer, Thomas G.
Context. It has been widely accepted that corundum particles condense in the atmospheres of oxygen-rich asymptotic giant branch stars and effectively produce an infrared emission feature at 13 μm. Laboratory experiments have predicted that these particles have the shape of oblate spheroids. Aims. We investigate the influence of the material anisotropy of uniaxial corundum on absorption cross section spectra of medium sized spheroidal particles in the infrared spectral region. Methods. We compared absorption cross-section spectra of the anisotropic corundum particles gained by finite-difference time-domain simulations to spectra calculated by a weighted sum approximation of the according fictive isotropic materials, with one material having the dielectric function of the a–b-plane and the other having the dielectric function of the c-axis of corundum. We carried out investigations for different axes ratios of the spheroids, particles volumes, and different geometries of the dielectric axes to the particle axes as well as to the polarization and propagation direction of the incident light. Results. We observed several effects attributed to anisotropy that are non-additive, so that they cannot be reproduced with the com-bined spectra of the isotropic materials. Conclusions. Care should be taken when calculating the corundum infrared spectrum with simpler approaches. When particle sizes above 1 μm are to be considered, the T-matrix formalism delivers correct band shifts and bulk modes for many, but not all bands. This remains true in orientation-averaged spectra and for particles in the 0.1 μm size range.

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