Diffuse Interstellar Bands and the Ultraviolet Extinction Curves: The Missing Link Revisited [GA]


A large number of interstellar absorption features at ~ 4000\AA\ — 1.8 {\mu}m, known as the “diffuse interstellar bands” (DIBs), remains unidentified. Most recent works relate them to large polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) molecules or ultrasmall carbonaceous grains which are also thought to be responsible for the 2175 \AA\ extinction bump and/or the far ultraviolet (UV) extinction rise at $\lambda^{-1} > 5.9\ {\mu}m^{-1}$. Therefore, one might expect some relation between the UV extinction and DIBs. Such a relationship, if established, could put important constraints on the carrier of DIBs. Over the past four decades, whether DIBs are related to the shape of the UV extinction curves has been extensively investigated. However, the results are often inconsistent, partly due to the inconsistencies in characterizing the UV extinction. Here we re-examine the connection between the UV extinction curve and DIBs. We compile the extinction curves and the equivalent widths of 40 DIBs along 97 slightlines. We decompose the extinction curve into three Drude-like functions composed of the visible/near-infrared component, the 2175 \AA\ bump, and the far-UV extinction at $\lambda^{-1} > 5.9\ {\mu}m^{-1}$. We argue that the wavelength-integrated far-UV extinction derived from this decomposition technique best measures the strength of the far-UV extinction. No correlation is found between the far-UV extinction and most (~90\%) of the DIBs. We have also shown that the color excess E(1300-1700), the extinction difference at 1300 \AA\ and 1700 \AA\ often used to measure the strength of the far-UV extinction, does not correlate with DIBs. Finally, we confirm the earlier findings of no correlation between the 2175 \AA\ bump and DIBs or between the 2175 \AA\ bump and the far-UV extinction.

Read this paper on arXiv…

F. Xiang, A. Li and J. Zhong
Mon, 24 Oct 16

Comments: 84 pages, 16 figures, 45 tables; accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal (2016)