Ultrasmall grains spend most of their time at their vibrational ground state during the interval of two photon absorption events (Section 3 and Fig. 2; Draine & Li 2001). In the 1996 South African "Cold Dust" Symposium, it was heatedly argued that these grains could obtain a vibrational temperature less than the 2.7 K temperature of the CMB so that they could be detected in absorption against the CMB (Duley & Poole 1998). However, based on detailed modeling of the excitation and de-excitation of these grains, we found that even though these grains do have a large population in the vibrational ground state, nevertheless the vibrational levels are sufficiently excited that the grains would appear in emission against the CMB with brightness temperature 9K (see Draine & Li 2004b for details).
Acknowledgments I thank G.J. Bendo, D.L. Block, F. Boulanger, B.T. Draine, R.C. Kennicutt, J.I. Lunine, D. Pfenniger, J.L. Puget, M.W. Regan, and C. Yuan for helpful discussions. I am grateful to D.L. Block and the organizing committee for inviting me to this stimulating symposium. I also thank my advisors B.T. Draine and the late J.M. Greenberg for guiding me to this fascinating field - cosmic dust.