First Detection Of Deuterated Methylidyne (CD) In The Interstellar Medium

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
May 15, 2023
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First Detection Of Deuterated Methylidyne (CD) In The Interstellar Medium
Methylidyne – Wikipedia

While the abundance of elemental deuterium is relatively low (D/H ~ a few 1E-5), orders of magnitude higher D/H abundance ratios have been found for many interstellar molecules, enhanced by deuterium fractionation.

In cold molecular clouds (T < 20K) deuterium fractionation is driven by the H2D+ ion, whereas at higher temperatures (T > 20-30K) gas-phase deuteration is controlled by reactions with CH2D+ and C2HD+. While the role of H2D+ in driving cold interstellar deuterium chemistry is well understood, thanks to observational constraints from direct measurements of H2D+, deuteration stemming from CH2D+ is far less understood, caused by the absence of direct observational constraints of its key ions.

Therefore, making use of chemical surrogates is imperative for exploring deuterium chemistry at intermediate temperatures. Formed at an early stage of ion-molecule chemistry, directly from the dissociative recombination of CH3+ (CH2D+), CH (CD) is an ideal tracer for investigating deuterium substitution initiated by reactions with CH2D+. This paper reports the first detection of CD in the interstellar medium, carried out using the APEX 12m telescope toward the widely studied low-mass protostellar system IRAS 16293-2422.

Gas-phase chemical models reproducing the observed CD/CH abundance ratio of 0.016 suggests that it reflects `warm deuterium chemistry’ (which ensues in moderately warm conditions of the interstellar medium) and illustrates the potential use of the CD/CH ratio in constraining the gas temperatures of the envelope gas clouds it probes.

Arshia M. Jacob, Karl M. Menten, Friedrich Wyrowski, Olli Sipilä

Comments: Accepted for publication in Astronomy & Astrophysics (14 pages, 11 figures and 7 tables including Appendix)
Subjects: Astrophysics of Galaxies (astro-ph.GA); Solar and Stellar Astrophysics (astro-ph.SR)
Cite as: arXiv:2305.07143 [astro-ph.GA] (or arXiv:2305.07143v1 [astro-ph.GA] for this version)
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Submission history
From: Arshia Maria Jacob
[v1] Thu, 11 May 2023 21:21:27 UTC (2,229 KB)
Astrobiology, Astrochemistry

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