Encyclopedia of Astrobiology

Living Edition
| Editors: Muriel Gargaud, William M. Irvine, Ricardo Amils, Henderson James Cleaves, Daniele Pinti, José Cernicharo Quintanilla, Michel Viso

Organic Dust, Synthesis by Stars

  • Sun KwokEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27833-4_5074-5



Organic dust consists of micron- or nanometer-sized carbon-based solid-state particles with aromatic (ring-like) and/or aliphatic (chain-like) structures. The solids could be in crystalline (periodic) form, or more likely, in amorphous (random) form. Possible examples of terrestrial counterpart are soot, which is a product of combustion of hydrocarbons in a flame, and kerogen, the most common form of organics on Earth formed from decayed living matter.


The existence of interstellar dust has been known since the early twentieth century through the effect of selective extinction on the light of distant stars. The chemical composition of the dust particles was initially assumed to include graphite, iron, or ice. Development in stellar nucleosynthesis led to the understanding that the element carbon is synthesized in the asymptotic giant branch (AGB) phase of stellar evolution. This led to the suggestion by Fred Hoyle that...


Star dust Stellar evolution 
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References and Further Reading

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  10. Rusli RJ, Amaratunga GAJ (1996) Photoluminescence behavior of hydrogenated amorphous carbon. J Appl Phys 38:2998–3003CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of ScienceThe University of Hong KongHong KongChina