Aims. This study was designed to examine the viability of protonated nitrogen-substituted polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (H+PANHs) as candidates for the carriers of the diffuse interstellar bands (DIBs). Methods. We obtained the electronic spectra of two protonated PANH cations, protonated acridine and phenanthridine, using parent ion photo-fragment spectroscopy and generated theoretical electronic spectra using ab initio calculations. Results. We show that the spectra of the two species studied here do not correspond to known DIBs. However, based on the general properties derived from the spectra of these small protonated nitrogen-substituted PAHs, we propose that larger H+PANH cations represent good candidates for DIB carriers due to the expected positions of their electronic transitions in the UV-visible and their narrow spectral bands.
J. Noble, C. Dedonder and C. Jouvet
Thu, 12 Mar 15
Comments: 7 pages, 2 figures, accepted for publication in A&A