Efficient Formation Pathway Of Methyl Formate: The Role Of OH Radicals On Ice Dust

By Keith Cowing
October 19, 2021
Filed under
Efficient Formation Pathway Of Methyl Formate: The Role Of OH Radicals On Ice Dust
Methyl Formate

Three structural isomers of the C2H4O2 molecule, namely, methyl formate (MF; HCOOCH3), acetic acid (AA; CH3COOH), and glycol aldehyde (GA; HOCH2CHO), have attracted considerable attention as targets for understanding pathways towards molecular complexity in the interstellar medium (ISM).

Among these isomers, MF is decisively abundant in various astronomical objects. For various formation pathways of MF, surface reactions on cosmic dust would play an important role. However, when compared to observations, the formation of MF has been found to be relatively inefficient in laboratory experiments in which methanol (CH3OH)-dominant ices were processed by ultraviolet (UV) photons and cosmic-ray analogues.

Here, we show experimental results on the effective formation of MF by the photolysis of CH3OH on water ice at 10 K. We found that the key parameter leading to the efficient formation of MF is the supply of OH radicals by the photolysis of H2O, which significantly differs from CH3OH-rich experimental conditions. Moreover, using an ultra-high-sensitivity surface analysis method, we succeeded in constraining the decisive formation pathway of MF via the photolysis of methoxymethanol (MM; CH3OCH2OH), which would improve our current understanding of chemical evolution in the ISM.

A. Ishibashi, H. Hidaka, Y. Oba, A. Kouchi, N. Watanabe

Comments: Accepted in ApJL; 10 figures including 5 figures in Appendix
Subjects: Astrophysics of Galaxies (astro-ph.GA)
Cite as: arXiv:2110.07765 [astro-ph.GA] (or arXiv:2110.07765v1 [astro-ph.GA] for this version)
Submission history
From: Naoki Watanabe
[v1] Thu, 14 Oct 2021 23:02:30 UTC (1,198 KB)
Astrobiology, Astrochemistry

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) 🖖🏻