On buckyonions as an interstellar grain component
The carrier of the 2175 Angstrom interstellar extinction feature remains unidentified since its first detection over 40 years ago. In recent years carbon buckyonions have been proposed as a carrier of this feature, based on the close similarity between the electronic transition spectra of buckyonions and the 2175 Angstrom interstellar feature. We examine this hypothesis by modeling the interstellar extinction with buckyonions as a dust component. It is found that dust models containing buckyonions (in addition to amorphous silicates, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon molecules, graphite) can closely reproduce the observed interstellar extinction curve. To further test this hypothesis, we call for experimental measurements and/or theoretical calculations of the infrared vibrational spectra of hydrogenated buckyonions. By comparing the infrared emission spectra predicted for buckyonions vibrationally excited by the interstellar radiation with the observed emission spectra of the diffuse interstellar medium, we will be able to derive (or place an upper limit on) the abundance of interstellar buckyonions.