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Keywords:

  • dust, extinction;
  • ISM: evolution;
  • galaxies: starburst

ABSTRACT

We present a model using the evolution of the stellar population in a starburst galaxy to predict the crystallinity of the silicates in the interstellar medium of this galaxy. We take into account dust production in stellar ejecta, and amorphization and destruction in the interstellar medium and find that a detectable amount of crystalline silicates may be formed, particularly at high star formation rates, and in case supernovae are efficient dust producers. We discuss the effect of dust destruction and amorphization by supernovae, and the effect of a low dust-production efficiency by supernovae, and find that when taking this into account, crystallinity in the interstellar medium becomes hard to detect. Levels of 6.5–13 per cent crystallinity in the interstellar medium of starburst galaxies have been observed and thus we conclude that not all these crystalline silicates can be of stellar origin, and an additional source of crystalline silicates associated with the active galactic nucleus must be present.