A new method to generate dust with astrophysical properties

JF Hansen and W van Breugel and EM Bringa and B Eberly and GA Graham and BA Remington and EA Taylor and AGGM Tielens, JOURNAL OF INSTRUMENTATION, 6, P05010 (2011).

DOI: 10.1088/1748-0221/6/05/P05010

To model the size distribution and composition of interstellar and interplanetary dust grains, and their effect on a wide range of phenomena, it is vital to understand the mechanism of dust-shock interaction. We demonstrate a new laser experiment that subjects dust grains to pressure spikes similar to those of colliding astrophysical dust, and that accelerates the grains to astrophysical velocities. This new method generates much larger data sets than earlier methods; we show how large quantities (thousands) of grains are accelerated at once, rather than accelerating individual grains, as is the case of earlier methods using electric fields. We also measure the in-flight velocity (similar to 4.5 km/s) of hundreds of grains simultaneously by use of a particle image velocimetry (PIV) technique.

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