Making, baking and breaking: Dust in the ISM

Dust grains are ubiquitous in the interstellar medium of galaxies. They are responsible for the formation of molecular hydrogen and for absorbing and re-emitting about 50% of the energy from all galaxies, as well as providing an effective coolant for star formation. Although important in various astrophysical processes, the origin and consequently the chemical make-up and emission properties of dust grains is largely unknown. Dust is generally believed to form in the atmospheres of low/intermediate-mass stars on the asymptotic giant branch (AGB), but there is growing evidence that dust may also be formed in the explosions of massive stars and/or be accreted in large amounts in the ISM.