DPS 34th Meeting, October 2002
Session 39. Laboratory Investigations
Oral, Chair(s): J. Allen and R.A. Baragiola, Friday, October 11, 2002, 8:45-10:15 and 10:45-11:15am, Ballroom

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[39.09] Infrared band strengths: Laboratory techniques and applications to astronomical observations

P. A. Gerakines (Astro- and Solar-System Physics Program, Dept. of Physics, Univ. of Alabama at Birmingham)

Whenever an abundance measurement is derived by way of infrared spectroscopy, it will typically make use of a laboratory-obtained conversion factor between the size of an IR absorption feature and the (column) density of the molecule under study. This factor is usually called the "absolute absorption intensity" by a chemist or the "band strength" by a typical IR astronomer. Band strengths have been studied in chemistry since the 1950s, and the commonly quoted "accuracy to with a factor of ten" historically required of astronomical calculations has not required much new input into this area. Today, however, astronomical measurements require much higher precision, and it is time for IR astronomers to ask more of laboratory measurements and to understand when and why to use IR band strengths in a more appropriate manner. The history, interpretation, measurement, and common astrophysical applications of infrared band strengths will be discussed. The "secrets" of the laboratory techniques involved in their measurement are described, and a compilation of results from the literature is given along with some new results. Typical astrophysical applications and appropriate uses will also be discussed. Common misconceptions are confronted and two challenges are presented: (i) to the laboratory astrophysics community to produce and advertise accurate values with caveats when necessary, and (ii) to the observational community to use the most appropriate results for the environment under study.

If the author provided an email address or URL for general inquiries, it is as follows:

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 34, #3< br> © 2002. The American Astronomical Soceity.