Complex Molecules in the Hot Core of the Low-Mass Protostar NGC 1333 IRAS 4A
ABSTRACT We report the detection of complex molecules (HCOOCH3, HCOOH, and CH3CN), signposts of a hot core-like region, toward the low-mass Class 0 source NGC 1333 IRAS 4A. This is the second low-mass protostar in which such complex molecules have been searched for and reported, the other source being IRAS 16293-2422. It is therefore likely that compact (a few tens of AU) regions of dense and warm gas, where the chemistry is dominated by the evaporation of grain mantles and where complex molecules are found, are common in low-mass Class 0 sources. Given that the chemical formation timescale is much shorter than the gas hot-core crossing time, it is not clear whether the reported complex molecules are formed on the grain surfaces (first-generation molecules) or in the warm gas by reactions involving the evaporated mantle constituents (second-generation molecules). We do not find evidence for large differences in the molecular abundances, normalized to the formaldehyde abundance, between the two solar-type protostars, suggesting perhaps a common origin.
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ABSTRACT: Context: Complex molecules such as ethanol and dimethyl ether have been observed in a number of hot molecular cores and hot corinos. Attempts to model the molecular formation process using gas phase only models have so far been unsuccessful. Aims : To demonstrate that grain surface processing is a viable mechanism for complex molecule formation in these environments. Methods: A variable environment parameter computer model has been constructed which includes both gas and surface chemistry. This is used to investigate a variety of cloud collapse scenarios. Results: Comparison between model results and observation shows that by combining grain surface processing with gas phase chemistry complex molecules can be produced in observed abundances in a number of core and corino scenarios. Differences in abundances are due to the initial atomic and molecular composition of the core/corino and varying collapse timescales. Conclusions: Grain surface processing, combined with variation of physical conditions, can be regarded as a viable method for the formation of complex molecules in the environment found in the vicinity of a hot core/corino and produce abundances comparable to those observed. Comment: 28 pages, 192 figures, accepted for publication in A&A.Astronomy and Astrophysics 03/2010; · 5.08 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The methyl formate molecule (HCOOCH3) is one of the most abundant molecules observed in hot molecular cores. Together with acetic acid and the sugar glycolaldehyde, these C2H4O2 molecules are the first triad of isomers detected in interstellar clouds. However, the observations point to a high enhancement in the abundance of methyl formate, which can reach up to 100 times the amount of its second abundant isomer, acetic acid. The observational abundance difference between these isomers has been subject of several works, invoking different formation pathways or survival rates. In this work we present an experimental and theoretical study of photoionization and photodissociation processes of HCOOCH3, to point out clues about its survival to high-energy photons observed in some interstellar environments. In order to obtain the most stable C2H4O2 cations and dications dissociation pathways, spectroscopic and computational methods were used. The measurements were taken employing soft X-ray photons with energies around carbon 1s and oxygen 1s resonances, while the calculations were performed at B3LYP/cc-pVDZ level, at the experimental pressure and temperature. Mass spectra of the photoproduced fragments were obtained using photoelectron photoion coincidence method. The main photodissociation channels are in agreement with the most favourable calculated pathways. Photoionization and photodissociation cross-sections were also determined. The results suggest that the observed high abundance of methyl formate could not be attributed to photodissociation processes.Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 09/2011; 417(4):2631 - 2641. · 5.52 Impact Factor
Article: Our astrochemical heritage[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Our Sun and planetary system were born about 4.5 billion years ago. How did this happen and what is our heritage from these early times? This review tries to address these questions from an astrochemical point of view. On the one hand, we have some crucial information from meteorites, comets and other small bodies of the Solar System. On the other hand, we have the results of studies on the formation process of Sun-like stars in our Galaxy. These results tell us that Sun-like stars form in dense regions of molecular clouds and that three major steps are involved before the planet formation period. They are represented by the pre-stellar core, protostellar envelope and protoplanetary disk phases. Simultaneously with the evolution from one phase to the other, the chemical composition gains increasing complexity. In this review, we first present the information on the chemical composition of meteorites, comets and other small bodies of the Solar System, which is potentially linked to the first phases of the Solar System's formation. Then we describe the observed chemical composition in the pre-stellar core, protostellar envelope and protoplanetary disk phases, including the processes that lead to them. Finally, we draw together pieces from the different objects and phases to understand whether and how much we inherited chemically from the time of the Sun's birth.Astronomy and Astrophysics Review 10/2012; 20(1). · 9.50 Impact Factor