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Annales Geophysicae An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: regular paper 08 May 2020

Submitted as: regular paper | 08 May 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ANGEO.

Dust sputtering within the inner heliosphere

Carsten Baumann1,2, Margaretha Myrvang1, and Ingrid Mann1 Carsten Baumann et al.
  • 1UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Space Physics Group, Postboks 6050 Langnes, 9037 Tromsø
  • 2Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, Institut für Solar-Terrestrische Physik, Neustrelitz, Germany

Abstract. The aim of this study is to investigate how sputtering by impacting solar wind particles influence the lifetime of dust particles in the inner heliosphere near the Sun.

We consider three typical dust materials: silicate, Fe0.4Mg0.6O and carbon and describe their sputtering yields based on atomic yields given by the Stopping and Range of Ions in Matter (SRIM) package. The influence of the solar wind is characterized by plasma density, solar wind speed and solar wind composition and we assume for these parameters values that are typical for fast solar wind, slow solar wind and CME conditions to calculate the sputtering lifetimes of dust. To compare the sputtering lifetimes to typical sublimation lifetimes we use temperature estimates based on Mie calculations and material vapour pressure derived with the chemical equilibrium code MAGMA. We also compare the sputtering lifetimes to the Poynting-Robertson lifetime and to the collision lifetime.

We present a set of sputtering rates and lifetimes that can be used for estimating dust destruction in the fast and slow solar wind and during CME conditions. Our results can be applied to solid particles of a few nm and larger. The sputtering lifetimes increase linearly with size of particles. We show that sputtering rates increase during CME conditions, primarily because of the high number densities of heavy ions in the CME plasma. The shortest sputtering lifetimes we find are for silicate, followed by Fe0.4Mg0.6O and carbon. In a comparison between sputtering and sublimation lifetimes we concentrate on the nanodust population. The comparison shows that sublimation is the faster destruction process within 0.1 AU for Fe0.4Mg0.6O, within 0.05 AU for carbon dust and within 0.07 AU for silicate dust. The destruction by sputtering can play a role in the vicinity of the Sun. We discuss our findings in the context of recent F-corona intensity measurements onboard Parker-Solar-Probe.

Carsten Baumann et al.

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Status: open (until 19 Jun 2020)
Status: open (until 19 Jun 2020)
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
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  • RC1: 'Review', Anonymous Referee #1, 19 May 2020 Printer-friendly Version
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Carsten Baumann et al.

Carsten Baumann et al.


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Latest update: 06 Jun 2020
Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Dust grains exist throughout our solar system. This dust is subject to destruction processes like sublimation and sputtering. Sputtering is the erosion of dust through the impact solar wind and can be very effective near the Sun. We performed calculations to find out how import the sputtering process is compared to the sublimation of dust. Recently started spacecraft will probe the proximity of the Sun and measure the dust population. Our work will help to understand these measurements.
Dust grains exist throughout our solar system. This dust is subject to destruction processes...