Visible and near-infrared reflectance of hyperfine and Hyperporous particulate surfaces

R. Sultana, O. Poch, P. Beck, B. Schmitt, E. Quiricoa

In Press, Journal Pre-proof, Available online 5 October 2020



• A protocol for production of sub-μm grains in hyperporous surfaces was developed
• Reflectance of sub-μm grains shows attenuated absorptions and blue spectral slope
• Increasing porosity of a surface of sub-μm grains increases these spectral effects
• Consequently, spectra of primitive bodies need to be interpreted with caution”

“The composition of Solar System surfaces can be inferred through reflectance and emission spectroscopy, by comparing these observations to laboratory measurements and radiative transfer models. While several populations of objects appear to be covered by sub-micrometre sized particles (D < 1 μm) (referred to as hyperfine), there are limited studies on reflectance and emission of particulate surfaces composed of particles smaller than the visible and infrared wavelengths. We have undertaken an effort to determine the reflectance of hyperfine particulate surfaces in conjunction with high-porosity, in order to simulate the physical state of cometary surfaces and their related asteroids (P- and D-types). In this work, we present a technique developed to produce hyperfine particles of astrophysical relevant materials (silicates, sulphides, macromolecular organics). This technique is used to prepare hyperfine powders that were measured in reflectance in the 0.4–2.6 μm range. These powders were then included in water ice particles, sublimated under vacuum, in order to produce a hyperporous sample of hyperfine material (refers as to sublimation residue). When grinded below one micrometre, the four materials studied (olivine, smectite, pyroxene and amorphous silica), show strong decrease of their absorption features together with a blueing of the spectra. This “small grain degeneracy” implies that surfaces covered by hyperfine grains should show only shallow absorption features if any (in the case of moderately absorbing particles as studied here). These two effects, decrease of band depth and spectral blueing, appear magnified when the grains are incorporated in the hyperporous residue. We interpret the distinct behaviour between hyperporous and more compact surfaces by the distancing of individual grains and a decrease in the size of the elemental scatterers. This work implies that hyperfine grains are unabundant at the surfaces of S- or V-type asteroids, and that the blue nature of B-type may be related to a physical effect rather than a compositional effect.”