ENDOR study of nitrogen hyperfine and quadrupole tensors in vanadyl porphyrins of heavy crude oil [CL]


We report the observation of pulsed electron-nuclear double resonance (ENDOR) spectrum caused by interactions of the nitrogen nuclei 14N with the unpaired electron of the paramagnetic vanadyl complexes VO2+ of vanadyl porphyrins in natural crude oil. We provide detailed experimental and theoretical characterization of the nitrogen hyperfine and quadrupole tensors.

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I. Gracheva, M. Gafurov, G. Mamin, et. al.
Tue, 21 Feb 17

Comments: 6 pages, 2 Figures

The Origins of Asteroidal Rock Disaggregation: Interplay of Thermal Fatigue and Microstructure [EPA]


The distributions of size and chemical composition in the regolith on airless bodies provides clues to the evolution of the solar system. Recently, the regolith on asteroid (25143) Itokawa, visited by the JAXA Hayabusa spacecraft, was observed to contain millimeter to centimeter sized particles. Itokawa boulders commonly display well-rounded profiles and surface textures that appear inconsistent with mechanical fragmentation during meteorite impact; the rounded profiles have been hypothesized to arise from rolling and movement on the surface as a consequence of seismic shaking. We provide a possible explanation of these observations by exploring the primary crack propagation mechanisms during thermal fatigue of a chondrite. We present the in situ evolution of the full-field strains on the surface as a function of temperature and microstructure, and observe and quantify the crack growth during thermal cycling. We observe that the primary fatigue crack path preferentially follows the interfaces between monominerals, leaving them intact after fragmentation. These observations are explained through a microstructure-based finite element model that is quantitatively compared with our experimental results. These results on the interactions of thermal fatigue cracking with the microstructure may ultimately allow us to distinguish between thermally induced fragments and impact products.

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K. Hazeli, C. Mir, S. Papanikolaou, et. al.
Mon, 16 Jan 17

Comments: 23 pages, 7 figures

Qualitative observation of reversible phase change in astrochemical ethanethiol ices using infrared spectroscopy [CL]


Here we report the first evidence for a reversible phase change in an ethanethiol ice prepared under astrochemical conditions. InfraRed (IR) spectroscopy was used to monitor the morphology of the ice using the S-H stretching vibration, a characteristic vibration of thiol molecules. The deposited sample was able to switch between amorphous and crystalline phases repeatedly under temperature cycles between 10 K and 130 K with subsequent loss of molecules in every phase change. Such an effect is dependent upon the original thickness of the ice. Further work on quantitative analysis is to be carried out in due course whereas here we are reporting the first results obtained.

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S. Pavithraa, R. Rajan, P. Gorai, et. al.
Tue, 29 Nov 16

Comments: 13 pages, 7 figures, submitted to spectrochimica Acta

Predicted reentrant melting of dense hydrogen at ultra-high pressures [CL]


The phase diagram of hydrogen is one of the most important challenges in high-pressure physics and astrophysics. Especially, the melting of dense hydrogen is complicated by dimer dissociation, metallization and nuclear quantum effect of protons, which together lead to a cold melting of dense hydrogen when above 500 GPa. Nonetheless, the variation of the melting curve at higher pressures is virtually uncharted. Here we report that using ab initio molecular dynamics and path integral simulations based on density functional theory, a new atomic phase is discovered, which gives an uplifting melting curve of dense hydrogen when beyond 2 TPa, and results in a reentrant solid-liquid transition before entering the Wigner crystalline phase of protons. The findings greatly extend the phase diagram of dense hydrogen, and put metallic hydrogen into the group of alkali metals, with its melting curve closely resembling those of lithium and sodium.

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H. Geng and Q. Wu
Mon, 7 Nov 16

Comments: 27 pages, 10 figures

Missing Fe: hydrogenated iron nanoparticles [SSA]


Although it was found that the FeH lines exist in the spectra of some stars, none of the spectral features in the ISM have been assigned to this molecule. We suggest that iron atoms interact with hydrogen and produce Fe-H nanoparticles which sometimes contain many H atoms. We calculate infrared spectra of hydrogenated iron nanoparticles using density functional theory methods and find broad, overlapping bands. Desorption of H2 could induce spinning of these small Fe-H dust grains. Some of hydrogenated iron nanoparticles posses magnetic and electric moments and should interact with electromagnetic fields in the ISM. Fe_nH_m nanoparticles could contribute to the polarization of the ISM and the anomalous microwave emission. We discuss the conditions required to form FeH and Fe_nH_m in the ISM.

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G. Bilalbegovic, A. Maksimovic and V. Mohacek-Grosev
Wed, 2 Nov 16

Comments: accepted for publications in MNRAS Letters

Infrared Opacities in Dense Atmospheres of Cool White Dwarf Stars [SSA]


Dense, He-rich atmospheres of cool white dwarfs represent a challenge to the modeling. This is because these atmospheres are constituted of a dense fluid in which strong multi-atomic interactions determine their physics and chemistry. Therefore, the ideal-gas-based description of absorption is no longer adequate, which makes the opacities of these atmospheres difficult to model. This is illustrated with severe problems in fitting the spectra of cool, He-rich stars. Good description of the infrared (IR) opacity is essential for proper assignment of the atmospheric parameters of these stars. Using methods of computational quantum chemistry we simulate the IR absorption of dense He/H media. We found a significant IR absorption from He atoms (He-He-He CIA opacity) and a strong pressure distortion of the H$_2$-He collision-induced absorption (CIA). We discuss the implication of these results for interpretation of the spectra of cool stars.

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P. Kowalski, S. Blouin and P. Dufour
Tue, 25 Oct 16

Comments: 6 pages, 5 figures, Proceedings of the EUROWD2016 workshop. To be published in ASPCS

Astromaterial Science and Nuclear Pasta [HEAP]


The heavens contain a variety of materials that range from conventional to extraordinary and extreme. For this colloquium, we define Astromaterial Science as the study of materials, in astronomical objects, that are qualitatively denser than materials on earth. Astromaterials can have unique properties, related to their density, such as extraordinary mechanical strength, or alternatively be organized in ways similar to more conventional materials. The study of astromaterials may suggest ways to improve terrestrial materials. Likewise, advances in the science of conventional materials may allow new insights into astromaterials. We discuss Coulomb crystals in the interior of cold white dwarfs and in the crust of neutron stars and review the limited observations of how stars freeze. We apply astromaterial science to the generation of gravitational waves. According to Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity accelerating masses radiate gravitational waves. However, very strong materials may be needed to vigorously accelerate large masses in order to produce continuous gravitational waves that are observable in present detectors. We review large-scale molecular dynamics simulations of the breaking stress of neutron star crust that suggest it is the strongest material known, some ten billion times stronger than steel. Nuclear pasta is an example of a soft astromaterial. It is expected near the base of the neutron star crust at densities of ten to the fourteen grams per cubic centimeter. Competition between nuclear attraction and Coulomb repulsion rearrange neutrons and protons into complex non-spherical shapes such as flat plates (lasagna) or thin rods (spaghetti). We review semi-classical molecular dynamics simulations of nuclear pasta. We illustrate some of the shapes that are possible and discuss transport properties including shear viscosity and thermal and electrical conductivities.

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M. Caplan and C. Horowitz
Tue, 14 Jun 16

Comments: 13 pages, 7 figures