Complex organic molecules in protostellar environments in the SKA era

By Keith Cowing
January 10, 2015
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Complex organic molecules in protostellar environments in the SKA era

Molecular complexity builds up at each step of the Sun-like star formation process, starting from simple molecules and ending up in large polyatomic species.

Complex organic molecules (COMs; such as methyl formate, HCOOCH3, dymethyl ether, CH3OCH3, formamide, NH2CHO, or glycoaldehyde, HCOCH2OH) are formed in all the components of the star formation recipe (e.g. pre-stellar cores, hot-corinos, circumstellar disks, shocks induced by fast jets), due to ice grain mantle sublimation or sputtering as well as gas-phase reactions.

Understanding in great detail the involved processes is likely the only way to predict the ultimate molecular complexity reached in the ISM, as the detection of large molecules is increasingly more difficult with the increase of the number of atoms constituting them. Thanks to the recent spectacular progress of astronomical observations, due to the Herschel (sub-mm and IR), IRAM and SMA (mm and sub-mm), and NRAO (cm) telescopes, an enormous activity is being developed in the field of Astrochemistry, extending from astronomical observatories to chemical laboratories.

We are involved in several observational projects providing unbiased spectral surveys (in the 80-300 and 500-2000 GHz ranges) with unprecedented sensitivity of templates of dense cores and protostars. Forests of COM lines have been detected. In this chapter we will focus on the chemistry of both cold prestellar cores and hot shocked regions, (i) reviewing results and open questions provided by mm-FIR observations, and (ii) showing the need of carrying on the observations of COMs at lower frequencies, where SKA will operate. We will also emphasize the importance of analysing the spectra by the light of the experimental studies performed by our team, who is investigating the chemical effects induced by ionising radiation bombarding astrophysically relevant ices.

C. Codella, L. Podio, F. Fontani, I. Jiménez-Serra, P. Caselli, C. Ceccarelli, M.E. Palumbo, A. López-Sepulcre, M.T. Beltrán, B. Lefloch, J.R. Brucato, S. Viti, L. Testi (Submitted on 30 Dec 2014)

Comments: 18 pages, 8 figures

Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)

Cite as: arXiv:1412.8611 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:1412.8611v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)

Submission history From: Claudio Codella [v1] Tue, 30 Dec 2014 12:10:53 GMT (833kb,D)

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻