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A What is stochastic heating of very small grains?

  1. Mar 6, 2017 #1
    I recently came across a paper where there was a term ''stochastic heating of very small grains". I went through some papers on this area but I am still confused about it. What is the vibrational temperature associated with very small grains? Does temperature has got a meaning if it's a highly fluctuating quantity?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 7, 2017 #2
    I'd imagine the time-average of a fluctuating temperature might be meaningful if you were considering processes that were slow compared to the fluctuations. Conversely if the fluctuations left individual particles in (time-dependent) thermal equilibrium I'd expect one could analyse the resulting situation.

    A bit more context would help. Grains of what, where? Being heated by what? Your comment about vibrational temperature suggests the grains are close to molecular dimensions. Is that the case?
  4. Mar 7, 2017 #3
    I am talking about the very small grains in the interstellar medium.
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