The Role Of Radiolysis In The Modelling Of C2H4O2 Isomers And Dimethyl Ether In Cold Dark Clouds



Complex organic molecules (COMs) have been detected in a variety of interstellar sources.

The abundances of these COMs in warming sources can be explained by syntheses linked to increasing temperatures and densities, allowing quasi-thermal chemical reactions to occur rapidly enough to produce observable amounts of COMs, both in the gas phase, and upon dust grain ice mantles. The COMs produced on grains then become gaseous as the temperature increases sufficiently to allow their thermal desorption. The recent observation of gaseous COMs in cold sources has not been fully explained by these gas-phase and dust grain production routes. Radiolysis chemistry is a possible non-thermal method of producing COMs in cold dark clouds.

This new method greatly increases the modeled abundance of selected COMs upon the ice surface and within the ice mantle due to excitation and ionization events from cosmic ray bombardment. We examine the effect of radiolysis on three C2H4O2 isomers -- methyl formate (HCOOCH3), glycolaldehyde (HCOCH2OH), and acetic acid (CH3COOH) -- and a chemically similar molecule, dimethyl ether (CH3OCH3), in cold dark clouds. We then compare our modelled gaseous abundances with observed abundances in TMC-1, L1689B, and B1-b.

Alec Paulive (1), Christopher N. Shingledecker (2 and 3 and 4), Eric Herbst (1 and 5) ((1) Department of Chemistry, University of Virginia, (2) Max-Planck-Institute fuer Extraterrestrische Physik, (3) Institute for Theoretical Chemistry, University of Stuttgart, (4) Department of Physics \& Astronomy, Benedictine College, (5) Department of Astronomy, University of Virginia)

Comments: 12 pages, 6 Figures, 5 tables, 33 numbered equations
Subjects: Astrophysics of Galaxies (astro-ph.GA)
Cite as: arXiv:2011.02023 [astro-ph.GA] (or arXiv:2011.02023v1 [astro-ph.GA] for this version)
Submission history
From: Alec Paulive
[v1] Tue, 3 Nov 2020 22:02:25 UTC (412 KB)
Astrobiology, Astrochemistry

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