Polyacenes And Diffuse Interstellar Bands

Example of a polyacene, dodecacene (N=12), C50H28. In the normal hydrogenated form there is an H atom bound to each outer C atom.

The identification of the carriers of the diffuse interstellar bands (DIBs) remains to be established, with the exception of five bands attributed to C60+, although it is generally agreed that DIB carriers should be large carbon-based molecules (with ~10-100 atoms) in the gas phase, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), long carbon chains or fullerenes.

More specific possible carriers among PAHs are investigated, namely elongated molecules, which could explain a correlation between the DIB wavelength and the apparent UV resilience of their carriers. We address the case of polyacenes, C4N+2-H2N+4, with N~10-18 fused rectilinear aligned hexagons. Polyacenes are attractive DIB carrier candidates because their high symmetry and large linear size allow them to form regular series of bands in the visible range with strengths larger than most other PAHs, as confirmed by recent laboratory results up to undecacene (C46H26). Those with very strong bands in the DIB spectral domain are just at the limit of stability against UV photodissociation. They are part of the prominent PAH family of interstellar carbon compounds, meaning that only ~10-5 of the total PAH abundance is enough to account for a medium-strength DIB. After summarizing the current knowledge about the properties of polyacenes and recent laboratory results, the likelihood that they might meet the criteria for being carriers of some DIBs is addressed by reviewing the following properties: wavelength and strength of their series of visible bands; interstellar stability and abundances, charge state and hydrogenation; and DIB rotation profiles.

No definite inconsistency has been identified that precludes polyacenes from being the carriers of some DIBs with medium or weak strength, including the so-called C2 DIBs. But additional experimental data about long acenes and their visible bands are needed to make robust conclusions

A. Omont, H.F. Bettinger, C. Tonshoff
(Submitted on 28 Mar 2019)

Comments: 13 pages, 4 figures
Subjects: Astrophysics of Galaxies (astro-ph.GA)
Cite as: arXiv:1903.11955 [astro-ph.GA] (or arXiv:1903.11955v1 [astro-ph.GA] for this version)
Submission history
From: Alain Omont
[v1] Thu, 28 Mar 2019 13:24:28 UTC (154 KB)
Astrobiology, Astrochemistry

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