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Detection of buckminsterfullerene emission in the diffuse interstellar medium

Abstract : Emission of fullerenes in their infrared vibrational bands has been detected in space near hot stars. The proposed attribution of the diffuse interstellar bands at 9577 and 9632 Å to electronic transitions of the buckminsterfullerene cation (i.e. C60+) was recently supported by new laboratory data, confirming the presence of this species in the diffuse interstellar medium (ISM). In this Letter, we present the detection, also in the diffuse ISM, of the 17.4 and 18.9 μm emission bands commonly attributed to vibrational bands of neutral C60 . According to classical models that compute the charge state of large molecules in space, C60 is expected to be mostly neutral in the diffuse ISM. This is in agreement with the abundances of diffuse C60 we derive here from observations.
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O. Berné, N.~l.~j. Cox, G. Mulas, C. Joblin. Detection of buckminsterfullerene emission in the diffuse interstellar medium. Astronomy and Astrophysics - A&A, EDP Sciences, 2017, 605, pp.L1. ⟨10.1051/0004-6361/201630325⟩. ⟨hal-02357093⟩

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