Forsterite amorphisation by ion irradiation: Monitoring by infrared spectroscopy
Astronomy and Astrophysics
We present experimental results on crystal--amorphous transition of forsterite (Mg2SiO4) silicate under ion irradiation. The aim of this work is to study the structural evolution of one of the most abundant crystalline silicates observed in space driven by ion irradiation. To this aim, forsterite films have been sythesised in laboratory and irradiated with low energy (30--60 keV) ion beams. Structural changes during irradiation with H+, He+, C+, and Ar++ have been observed and monitored by
... d monitored by infrared spectroscopy. The fraction of crystalline forsterite converted into amorphous is a function of the energy deposited by nuclear collision by ions in the target. Laboratory results indicate that ion irradiation is a mechanism potentially active in space for the amorphisation of silicates. Physical properties obtained in this work can be used to model the evolution of silicate grains during their life cycle from evolved stars, through different interstellar environments and up to be incorporated in Solar System objects.