Non-thermal Desorption Of Complex Organic Molecules: Cosmic-ray Sputtering Of CH3OH Embedded In CO2 Ice

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
January 20, 2020
Filed under
Non-thermal Desorption Of Complex Organic Molecules: Cosmic-ray Sputtering Of CH3OH Embedded In CO2 Ice

Methanol ice is embedded in interstellar ice mantles present in dense molecular clouds. We aim to measure the sputtering efficiencies starting from different ice mantles of varying compositions experimentally, in order to evaluate their potential impact on astrochemical models.

The sputtering yields of complex organic molecules is of particular interest, since few mechanisms are efficient enough to induce a significant feedback to the gas phase. We irradiated methanol and carbon dioxide ice mixtures of varying ratios with swift heavy ions in the electronic sputtering regime. We monitored the evolution of the infrared spectra and the species released to the gas phase with a mass spectrometer. Methanol and 13C-methanol isotopologue were used to remove any ambiguity on the measured irradiation products. The sputtering of methanol embedded in carbon dioxide ice is an efficient process leading to the ejection of intact methanol in the gas phase.

We establish that when methanol is embedded in a carbon-dioxide-rich mantle exposed to cosmic rays, a significant fraction is sputtered as intact molecules. The sputtered fraction follows the time-dependent bulk composition of the ice mantle, the latter evolving with time due to the radiolysis-induced evolution of the bulk. If methanol is embedded in a carbon dioxide ice matrix, as the analyses of the spectral shape of the CO2 bending mode observations in some lines of sight suggest, the overall methanol sputtering yield is higher than if embedded in a water ice mantle. The sputtering is increased by a factor close to the dominant ice matrix sputtering yield, which is about six times higher for pure carbon dioxide ice when compared to water ice. These experiments are further constraining the cosmic-ray-induced ice mantle sputtering mechanisms important role in the gas-phase release of complex organic molecules from the interstellar solid phase.

E. Dartois, M. Chabot, A. Bacmann, P. Boduch, A. Domaracka, H. Rothard
(Submitted on 14 Jan 2020)
Comments: arXiv admin note: text overlap with arXiv:1906.03084
Subjects: Astrophysics of Galaxies (astro-ph.GA)
Cite as: arXiv:2001.06349 [astro-ph.GA] (or arXiv:2001.06349v1 [astro-ph.GA] for this version)
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Submission history
From: Emmanuel Dartois [view email]
[v1] Tue, 14 Jan 2020 23:30:09 UTC (5,426 KB)
Astrobiology, Astrochemistry

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