Observed extinction curves of active galactic nuclei (AGNs) are significantly different from those observed in the Milky Way. The observations require preferential removal of small grains at the AGN environment; however, the physics for this remains unclear. In this paper, we propose that dust destruction by charging, or Coulomb explosion, may be responsible for AGN extinction curves. Harsh AGN radiation makes a dust grain highly charged through photoelectric emission, and grain fission via Coulomb explosion occurs when the electrostatic tensile stress of a charge grain exceeds its tensile strength. We show that Coulomb explosion can preferentially remove both small silicate and graphite grains and successfully reproduce both flat extinction curve and the absence of 2175 A° bump.
|Publication status||Published - 2020 Feb 19|
- Galaxies: active
- Galaxies: nuclei
- Infrared: galaxies
ASJC Scopus subject areas