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Paper: Translational Velocities and Rotational Rates of Interstellar Dust Grains
Volume: 309, Astrophysics of Dust
Page: 479
Authors: Lazarian, A.; Yan, H.
Abstract: Interstellar dust grains exhibit complex dynamics which is essential for understanding many key interstellar processes that involve dust, including grain alignment, grain growth, grain shattering etc. Grain rotational and translational motions are affected not only by gaseous collisions, but also by interactions with ions, photons, magnetic fields etc. Some of those interactions, e.g. interactions of ions with the dipole electric moment of dust grains, require the quantum nature of the process to be accounted for. Similarly, coupling of rotational and vibrational degrees of freedom in a grain happens due to relaxation processes, among which the process related to nuclear spins frequently is the dominant one. This coupling modifies substantially both the dynamics of rotational and translational motions by inducing grain flips. The flipping averages our certain systematic torques and forces that act on grains. As the rate of flipping is larger for smaller grains, these grains can be "thermally trapped", i.e. rotate at a thermal rate in spite of the presence of systematic torques. Moreover, a subset of small grains with high dipole moments may rotate at subthermal rates due to high damping arising from grain emission in microwave range of frequencies. Translational and rotational dynamics of grains is interrelated. For instance, both rotation and gas grain relative speeds affect grain alignment as well as determine grain size distribution and structure. Translational dynamics of grains is mostly dominated by grain interactions with magnetohydrodynamic turbulence. Efficient turbulent mixing of dust grains limits the degree to which grains of different sizes may be segregated in space.
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