Exploring Molecular Complexity with ALMA

©ESO

ALMA

Over the past five decades, radio astronomy has shown that molecular complexity is a natural outcome of interstellar chemistry, in particular in star forming regions.

However, the pathways that lead to the formation of complex molecules are not completely understood and the depth of chemical complexity has not been entirely revealed. In addition, the sulfur chemistry in the dense interstellar medium is not well understood. We want to know the relative abundances of alkanethiols and alkanols in the Galactic Center source Sagittarius B2(N2), the northern hot molecular core in Sgr B2(N), whose relatively small line widths are favorable for studying the molecular complexity in space. We investigated spectroscopic parameter sets that were able to reproduce published laboratory rotational spectra of ethanethiol and studied effects that modify intensities in the predicted rotational spectrum of ethanol.

We used the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) in its Cycles~0 and 1 for a spectral line survey of Sagittarius B2(N) between 84 and 114.4 GHz. These data were analyzed by assuming local thermodynamic equilibrium (LTE) for each molecule. Our observations are supplemented by astrochemical modeling; a new network is used for the first time that includes reaction pathways for alkanethiols.

The column density ratios involving methanol, ethanol, and methanethiol in Sgr B2(N2) are similar to values reported for Orion KL, but those involving ethanethiol are significantly different and suggest that the detection of ethanethiol reported toward Orion KL is uncertain. Our chemical model presently does not permit the prediction of sufficiently accurate column densities of alkanethiols or their ratios among alkanethiols and alkanols. Therefore, additional observational results are required to establish the level of C2H5SH in the dense and warm interstellar medium with certainty.

Exploring molecular complexity with ALMA (EMoCA): Alkanethiols and alkanols in Sagittarius B2(N2)

H. S. P. Mller, A. Belloche, L.-H. Xu, R. M. Lees, R. T. Garrod, A. Walters, J. van Wijngaarden, F. Lewen, S. Schlemmer, K. M. Menten
(Submitted on 16 Dec 2015)

Comments: Astron. Astrophys., accepted; 14 pages of manuscript with figure and tables plus 23 pages of additional online figures. Abstract here shortened considerably
Subjects: Astrophysics of Galaxies (astro-ph.GA); Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (astro-ph.IM); Chemical Physics (physics.chem-ph)
Cite as: arXiv:1512.05301 [astro-ph.GA] (or arXiv:1512.05301v1 [astro-ph.GA] for this version)
Submission history
From: Holger Mller
[v1] Wed, 16 Dec 2015 19:49:05 GMT (1542kb)
http://arxiv.org/abs/1512.05301

Please follow Astrobiology on Twitter.


  • submit to reddit